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Only in a small town..

Posted Thursday, October 8, 2009, at 4:19 PM

A river crossing near my parents house, where I swam, fished and played as a kid.
Moving from a big town in Texas to a small town in Kansas, I was shocked by some of the new things I experienced.

When I first moved to Uniontown and was learning how to drive, I would laugh because everyone waved. I found it odd that people would wave to each other (and with their whole hand, not just a finger!) when they met on the road, which was a new thing to me.

When I first started school in Uniontown, people showed me around and took the time to learn my name. Coming from a larger school, that meant something. I didn't know all of the students in my grade at my old school and most of my teachers couldn't remember me by name.

Not long after we moved here, my grandpa (My dad's father) passed away. He was a great man and our family was devastated by his passing. Neighbors, friends, fellow church members and even people I didn't know well sent cards, food and called to express their condolences. The outpouring of so many people amazed me. One friend of mine and her mom brought over several dishes of food for us. People called just to see if we needed anything and if they could help us out with anything. I've seen similar things before, but only in a small community do you see so many people come together to help a family like that.

Another time, when I was maybe 15 or 16, I was driving and had my first accident. I rolled the vehicle I was in. Thanks to God I wasn't injured, but I was really shook. I walked to the nearest home for help, but the owner was a farmer and he was out in the field. No one was there. Shaking, I walked back to my wrecked vehicle, only to see one of our neighbors searching for me and shouting my name. When he saw me and realized I wasn't injured, he seemed to relax. He told me how scared he had been that I was injured or had been thrown from the vehicle. Although he was a neighbor, he was just an acquaintance and not someone I knew very well. I have never forgotten how concerned he was for my well being and how willing he was to help me. He drove me home so I could get my mom and so we could call it in. When we got back to where I had wrecked, there were lots of people around and one of them was a father of a friend of mine. He too was very relieved to find me uninjured. That day and the following day after my accident, neighbors, friends and other people called to say they had heard about my accident (news travels fast in a small town) and how relieved they were to hear that I was doing OK. Again, only in a small town would this happen.

Since living in a small town, I have seen an entire community come together to help a family who has lost their home and every belonging to a fire. I have seen community members gather to remember a local soldier, a fallen hero, and support each other. I have seen a church congregation come together to celebrate the baptism of a newborn baby and take time to appreciate the beginning of a new life. To some, these may seem like every day occurrences, but to me, they show the love and bond that can only be found in a small town.

Not everywhere would people be so eager to help each other, not every where would people be so willing to donate their time, money or belongings to help out a neighbor. And not every where would people care so much for each other.

I have lived in places where out of 20 neighbors, I may have met one or two, and rarely would they offer to do something just to help out, without expecting something in return. I have lived in places where the only gesture driver's share are explicit words and offensive hand signs. I had never lived in a place where neighbors not only waved to each other, but hugged and shook hands and did things for each other, never expecting anything in return. Only in a small town do these things happen.

I can see why so many people who grow up in a small town and move away want to come back. I can understand why my dad brought us back to this small town, and I'm happy he did. I hope my children get to experience all the wonderful parts of a small town and they appreciate it. After all, nothing compares to the energy of a small town cheering on their local high school football team. That's what small towns are made of.

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I am the Editorial Assistant for The Fort Scott Tribune, where I have been employed since March of 2008. I live in the country near Mapleton, Kan., with my husband and our two children. I graduated from Uniontown High School, Uniontown, Kan., but before attending Uniontown, I moved around several times during my childhood. I love to take photos, write, read and spend time with my family. I am also a member of our local fire department and enjoy attending church with my family and appreciate everything a small town has to offer. I look forward to watching my children grow and spending time with my husband and family while living in the country.
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