Friday, June 4, 2010

I love Small Towns

Monday we had a sale at the Paradise Town Hall. There was a breakfast served up by the local Fire Department. I don't know how many came, but a fair amount came into visit and browse our wares--some to buy. It was fun to hobnob with old friends now that I've moved all of three miles down the road. Still we're all a community. We know most by name--almost all by their face or even more likely by the vehicle they drive. We had a raffle to give away pottery and photography. I had my cousin's daughter reach into the bucket after I shook it up a bit. She reached in and pulled out a ticket and handed it to me. All it had on it was a first name--no last name--no phone number. I laughed. Only her first name was needed. Marjean is an icon of our town. When I teased her about not putting her last name she said. "I didn't want to fill out all that information and everyone knows who Marjean is." Indeed everyone does.

In reality Paradise and Avon are 10-20 times larger than the last town we lived in. That's hard to believe since the two communities combined are less than 2000 people. Grouse Creek, where my husband and I taught school, and where he proudly calls home, had less than 100 people by last count. I think it's down to around 70 now. After we'd moved into these larger towns, one of our friends was shopping in Wal-Mart when the checker noticed she was from Paradise. "You might know Carole and Mick Warburton." They did.  "Tell them Jason from Grouse Creek said hello." My friend asked for a last name and he laughed and replied that she didn't need one--they would know who Jason was. Indeed we did. We taught Jason in that school for all of the years we taught.

In Grouse Creek someone once told me that the town is so small that you know whose checks are good and whose husband's aren't. I loved that line and have used it in at least one of my novels. Another time in G.C. I was bike riding with a couple of good friends when we passed a piece of carpet on the road that had fallen out of someone's truck on the way to the dump. "Look's like (so and so) got new carpet." Imagine being able to recognize someone's refuse! That's a small town.

Now we live in the kind of place where each morning I'm awakened, not an ordinary rooster, but by a rooster pheasant who crows outside our bedroom window, where if we're gone for the weekend and our horses get out, we can count on someone rounding them up,  repairing the fence, then tossing them some hay so they don't get out again. We live in the kind of place where often only one name is needed. However that name wouldn't be Carole--there are at least five of us. But just like Anne with an 'e' in Anne of Green Gables--Carol--with an e sets me apart. If I can't be a Marjean, than I'll settle for Carol with an 'e'.