Tag Archives: Norman Rockwell

Small Town Life – Delivery

If Small Town Life has taught me anything, it’s that food is the only way to react to anything. This spring has been a time of going out and coming in life. There have been several deaths in the church and my family and around town and basically, the whole town reacts with food. They make freezer meals and bring them over or just come with a meal that’s ready for that night. If someone dies, you won’t have to cook in that house for a month. images3

Of course, we had a baby this spring and that same thing happened. FOOD! It’s awesome

Truth: What else can we do when we want to support those who are going through something? Either a new something or a sad something or whatever. Food delivery is standard because it helps in several ways.

1. Usually, food is delivered in throw away containers. This means, if you have paper plates, no dishes. As a new mother and also someone who has dealt with a death in the family and severe illness in the family, I can attest to the awesomeness of not having to do dishes!paintings-family-food-tables-Thanksgiving-Norman-Rockwell-Turkey-bird-_472406-32

2. Having food delivered saves money. When you are dealing with a new expense of some kind (a baby or a funeral or hospital billls), having food delivered saves money. Maybe not alot of money but some and every little bit helps.

3. It is one less decision that has to be made. Have you ever been in the situation where one more decision will throw you over the edge? After having a baby or deciding on someone’s end of life wishes, deciding what to have for dinner is just one more thing and it might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

So, to all those ladies who organize meals for people in the church or community – keep on keeping on. If you are one of the people in the crowd – sign up. That one meal makes a world of difference to those who are hurting, busy, or just plain overwhelmed.Saturday-Night-Live-The-Return-Of-The-Church-Lady

Small Town Living – The Inverse

The inverse of the awesomeness of knowing everyone in town, being an integrated community, is that everyone knows everything. There are no secrets. I had jury duty a while back and realized how hard that must be for the local court system. How can you find objective jurors in a town where everyone knows about the case already because they are all integrated?index It reminds me a bit of that movie Mystery Alaska where the town goes after some guy in the beginning of the movie in court and… well, I forget the story line but it’s hilarious how tight knit the community is. They are not going to be pushed around by an outsider.

images-bIt’s hard to keep to yourself in a small community. You can’t NOT invite people to a party. They are going to find out. You can’t keep anything small and to yourself, everyone will know. There is talk.

Recently in our little town, there was a land war over a piece of property. It became a huge community issue. Something that wouldn’t make the local news in a city was a major issue that was discussed in the opinion section of the newspaper every single day and indeed, is still being discussed over and over in the local coffee shop, the city counsel and homes all around town. The players were well known community members and what should have been a personal property issue became a community dividing conflict. A rift developed between the sides. It still exists. Somehow, it felt like a huge family feud! I was amazed at what passion was behind an issue that barely effected many of the opinion stating contributors in the local paper.

But that’s part of being in a small town52-5271-OSPZG00Z. It’s true what they portray in movies about these kinds of things – they can divide and indeed conquer the beauty and harmony of a small community.

Small Town Living – Gladys

My father lives in a small town and gets all the local gossip from his barber!!!

In this town there is a lady – let’s call her Gladys – who knows everything about everybody. She grew up in the depression and post depression era. Walker Evans 3.JPG gd2There are three generations of her family living in town. Her husband and her lived in the same house for a very long time and when they sold it, she left a long letter explaining the lifestyle and nuance of each and every neighbor for the next owner. She knows everyone and all their gossip from back until the 30’s. It’s amazing. Recently she was in the shop and (mind, we are not a big shop) she literally could not leave as everyone else who came in had to be spoken to and visited with.

This is true for so many of our little town people. They have lived her forever. They know everything about people. It’s amazing!

Truth: Most likely I will be this lady some day. I’m probably never really leaving this town. It’s my home. I love it here despite the fact there is nowhere to shop and no where to eat out. It’s my town.

I am Gladys…

Small Town Life – Drive Me Crazy

Driving in a small town can be so frustrating. If you cut someone off accidentally, most likely you’ve offended your next door neighbor’s cousin or your doctor or someone else that’s going to make you regret it later. roadblockYou rarely see the road rage you do in large cities though. I’ve never been flipped off in my town by some angry driver.

You can always tell the out-of-towners in a small town. Besides the fact that their car doesn’t fit the culture of the town, they are driving crazy slow looking down each street trying to find something. They usually end up in the drive through for McDonalds because they are afraid of the hole in the wall places that line the main street.

Worse yet must be the embarrassment of being pulled over in this town. EVERYONE KNOWS YOU! You will not escape being asked what the incident was or why you were spread eagle on the hood of Officer so-and-so’s squad car. squad_cars

Just something to think about if you ever move to a small town.

Small Town Life – 12 Steps to the End of Town

Recently I have become heavily involved in 12 step groups. I’m outing myself a little there. I’m a friend/family member so there is Al-Anon. images (7)I’m also a boarderline addict myself with family traits for addictive behavior. In the big book, apparently these stories are called “They quit in time,” or something similar. I did 12-step when I was in college with a group. We just went through the steps to find out what they were. Now I’m in another group that is doing something similar and I’m talking with others who are addicts and have gone through the steps or are going through them and it’s quite interesting. Everyone should do them. Really. I know I’m advising the world there but it’s the kind of study of ones self that can be done over and over and never get old.

However, in the context of a small town, the idea of an anonymous group is, well… difficult. Never is it truly anonymous. Maybe that’s a good thing because we aren’t all worried about what we are going to say or who we are going to out but also, it can be hard because if you are talking about issues and someone in the group is intimately acquainted with someone you have a grievance with, is that going to affect their relationship?images (5) Is my issue with a person and my discussion of that issue in my 12-step group going to be a reason someone else sees that person so differently they can’t get back their relationship?

One of the things I have been told is that there will never be a time when you are able to confront and accuse those who have hurt you. The 12 steps aren’t about that. They are about cleaning your side of the street and leaving their side alone. You can’t change other’s. You can only change yourself. Therefore, confrontation and the attempt to make someone understand their part in your break down is futile. It is something to be let go. THAT IS HARD! Especially in a small town setting where you are bound to see and interact with your issue people on a regular basis. But that makes it no less true.images (6)

How then can we rebuild relationships after issues or fights? Discussion for another blog I suppose.

Small Town Living – Expectation to SETTLE DOWN

norman-rockwell-if-your-wisdom-teeth-could-talkThere is something about living in a small town or going to a small church or whatever that seems to give the older generation a feeling they have a right to have expectations of us younger people. Not only can they have these expectations but they can voice them whenever they feel the urge and dole out unsolicited advice. Ok, I’m all about learning from those who have gone before but there are some things that I think should change.

For example, why are we expected to get married? Why is it that every little lady in the church feels the need to set up anyone who is single? Have you thought maybe we like being single? Maybe we want to be free! Or maybe there is pain that cannot be explained and needs to be left alone. If we want to be set up, we’ll ask.

Flowers in Tender BloomOr how about when we do get married and at the reception we start getting the question, “When are you going to start a family?” Excuse me… I thought I just did. I just got a spouse. What if I don’t want the responsibility of kids? What if I can’t have kids? STOP PRAYING FOR ME TO HAVE KIDS!

Or how about after we actually do produce offspring and everyone wants to know when you are going to have that kid a sibling?! REALLY?!!!!

If you think society has changed, great but there is definitely a generation that thinks this progression is the only way to live life and frankly, it’s not.

I’m a wife, mother and I chose all that but I know people who want to be single. I know people who choose to not have children because they want to have a career. I know people who have no choice.

People in small towns expect their kids to take over the family business, they expect their young people to play on the football team, and especially in this agricultural area – to farm!

Should all these expectations really be put on our young people? Should we really be asking them questions like, “When are you going to settle down?”

Small Town Life – Paradise Lost

Sometimes you have friends… and then they aren’t friends anymore.

From Milton’s Paradise Lost

Maybe you lose that friendship over a huge fight. Maybe it ends in disagreement so deep the friendship can’t recover.

Maybe you lose that friendship because of distance. Facebook acquaintance doesn’t necessarily constitute a deep friendship.

Maybe you lose that friendship over life changes. You switch life groups – maybe from single to married or married without children to married with children or something like that.

Maybe you grow apart because of differing growth and ideals.

The question is, how hard should we fight for these friendships that once meant so much to us and then either are strained or falling by the wayside? Something I’ve been pondering today.

Because life isn’t like Friends or Big Bang Theorytumblr_static_431311 or Grey’s Anatomy. You can’t have betrayal and then rebuild relationships. More often than not, people don’t make up and they don’t stay friends forever and your wife or husband isn’t going to be ok with your best friend being of the opposite sex (gay or straight).  So people will change circumstances and relationships will change and friendships will end sometimes slowly and sometimes in fiery flames. I don’t know how to combat that or even if I should try.

the wifey

Small Town Life – Love in the time of HIPAA

If you don’t know what HIPAA is you are totally missing out on a very interesting rule of healthcare. hipaaLogoBasically, any medical records that you are privy to because of a work reason must stay confidential. If you work in healthcare, more than knowing that a person was in your facility (and even that is iffy) is barred from being revealed. However, in a small town, putting the pieces of someones life together can be very easy.

My encounters this week included several conversations. The UPS guy came in the other day to say that he was thinking about quitting his job because the owner of a food truck had dropped dead and he saw that as an opportunity to get some nice equipment. An EMS worker had a bad weekend because of someone dying in the ambulance. A church lady was needing support because she was in shock over the death of her friend at a birthday party. THEY WERE ALL TALKING ABOUT THE SAME PERSON!download (3)

This is life in a small town. One death (even if it’s a homeless person) is noticed by everyone.

It’s hard to die alone and unnoticed in a small town. Your life is like a string in a spiderweb. If it moves, everyone feels it. It’s a little scary but nice all at the same time.

Small Town Living – The Outsiders

In a small town, a newcomer takes a while to understand the culture and can often feel on the outside of the community for a while. Try getting a job in a small town. It’s not easy because all the businesses are small and they are hiring their sisters or cousins or friends. A job may be advertised in the local paper but only because legally it has to be. norman-rockwell-visits-a-country-editor-aThey have already made up their minds who they are going to hire and they are just going through the motions. It’s hard to break in. Sometimes it takes time but mostly it takes getting involved and making friends. Small town people are not going to come to you, you have to go to them.

The secret to breaking the walls down is to sit down in the coffee shop and talk to people. It’s introducing yourself to a church community and going to a small group or volunteering at the local homeless shelter. It’s getting into a writers group or hitting all the garage sales and asking the families about their treasures. It’s striking up a conversation and listening to the stories that make the community stick together. It’s reading the local paper and attending events such as high school football games, planetarium shows, Kiwanis pancake breakfasts and community forums. images (2)

You don’t have to be on the outside for long if you don’t want to be. To make friends, you must show yourself friendly.

Small Town Living – Coffee Shop Awesomeness

P1050615There is a coffee shop I go to. I’m getting to be kind of a regular there. The lady who owns it recognizes me now. There is a group of old guys that get together there and chat about life. They discuss the towns business and undoubtedly they have seen our little hamlet change and morph in ways I can only imagine. When I see them, I imagine they are like a group of Jewish leaders getting together by the gate of the city and discussing politics and theology. They have seen so much in the world. I notice when someone is not in the group anymore. I know if one has gone into a nursing home or died. More come and take their place. It’s comforting to see that this community will be there when I’m of retirement age… I hope.6791051078_aa472e9c30_z

Will our generation be this tight in real life or will we sit at home posting to Facebook or whatever social media has taken it’s place?

Will it matter that I live in a small town then? Will we have practiced spending time together in real life enough to spend our retirement connecting in a way we never could when we were child laden, working and bustling around the world? Or will we be so out of practice in seeing another human face to face that we will hole up in our homes and not know how to function?

For now… I’m going to get a bit of sleep before my world starts to spin out of control in the morning.                                             *all images found norman-rockwell-coffeeon google