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. There 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.
Sometimes you have friends… and then they aren’t friends anymore.
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 Theory 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.
If you don’t know what HIPAA is you are totally missing out on a very interesting rule of healthcare. Basically, 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!
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.
We have a delivery service for the store and a 24 hour on call delivery man. The other day, a new client called in wanting to have a new delivery set up on the route. She demanded he come out immediately and set her up. When asking some questions to establish her as a regular client she refused to give him much information stating, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m very well known in town.”
Living in a small town has its advantages. Many times you are well known and people are more than ready to accommodate you. However, I’m not sure that assuming you are a local celebrity just because you have lived in a town of 8,800 for your whole life makes for great relationship building.
A real celebrity has come into the store before. We knew exactly who he was but he didn’t assume we did. He was gracious and kind and very easy to work with. He never assumed we knew anything about him until my sister stared at him for a while and the only words that came out of her mouth were, “I love you.” It was priceless.
If you have time to leave a comment, I would love to hear about your brushes with fame – names attached or not.
I grew up in this town. We moved here when I was 8 and the majority of my early childhood was spent in what we still call “the big house.” We lived on 5 acres of sage brush. We spent a TON of time outside.
We built houses out of tumble weeds and made little trails through the chico, pretending like we were cars speeding around corners. We had a little puddle out back that was deep enough to float a blow up raft in and we spend hours paddling around in it. Whenever we were angry, we “ran away” across the field to a neighbors house who would give us a cookie and call our mother to let her know where we were.
We road bikes up and down the dirt road, visiting neighbors and speeding past a house where there was a mean dog that chased us every time. We named him Saddam Hussein. Politically incorrect? Maybe. Our dogs name was George Bush (the first one).
The one time I remember our parents really playing with us, not just taking us somewhere or facilitating play, but actually playing with us, was the Family Olympics where the got cards with numbers and kept score and we kids participated in foot races around the yard and jumping contests and ice skating on the puddle. It was amazing.
Once, when my parents had a bunch of friends over and the kids were left to their own devices, we used our kite string to make a giant spider web around the whole living room.
Truth: Childhood doesn’t have to be perfect and your kids don’t need to be entertained by you. Let them enjoy their imaginations. Let them come up with their own stuff. They won’t die or be stunted.
So we are sitting in church and I’m realizing how small it is. I’ve been in bigger churches. You know, a few hundred people and everyone is in their own seats and kids are sitting with their parents (or there is provided childcare) and everyone is disconnected and responsible only for themselves and they listen and they sing and they leave. However, in our church, we know EVERYONE! There is no childcare. Kids are wandering around the church at liberty to sit with whoever they want or wander from pew to pew collecting candy from every kindly old lady. They are visiting quietly with their friends and parents are sending Facebook notes to each other about afternoon activities or night entertainment or lunch plans. A little girl notices the pastor is back from a trip and yells out that she’s glad to see him and is invited up to the platform for a hug and a rendition of a favorite song. This is my idea of a great church life. Let the little children come… Let the adults participate and love each other and interact with each other. Let the visitors be invited to our homes and into our lives a bit for the day.
To keep the chaos down a bit, Andy and I insist on a reason for leaving our pew from the kids. This week, Abby’s reason was, “I need to do something nice.” Now this isn’t alot of information for a mother but what can I say? I decided to leave it alone and allow the pass to the rest of the church. She took a handful of colored pencils to a visiting child so they could color a picture provided by the children’s department earlier. It was a nice thing to do. Only in a small town church does this happen…