Monday, March 10, 2014

Why I Love Living in Small Town, USA

Today I went on a walk like I do nearly every day. My walk is along a country road. I usually travel the same path. One of the families along the way recently acquired a new dog. The new dog watches from her owners' house and gallops up the hill to join me on my walks. Sometimes, she doesn't return home and instead continues to follow me. She did this today. Last time, she followed me she seemed to have no sense about cars, trucks, or school buses. She trots right down the center line and doesn't move out of the way. Today, I was relieved when she ran up a hill when the school bus came. I did not want the bus to hit her. I didn't think either I or the children on the bus would want to see that happen.

But today, unlike other days, the school bus stopped. The bus driver then opened up the window of the bus and called the dog by name! (I'm not naming the dog to protect the innocent) Then the bus door opened and out popped one of the children who own the dog. The boy chased the dog up and down the street, but the dog kept dodging capture. I realized, he needed my help. I grabbed the dogs collar and turned her over to the boy. The boy tried to drag the dog. The dog refused to budge. Yes, the bus is still waiting! Finally I pushed from behind and we got the dog to walk begrudgingly to the bus. He balked at the door, but with the boy pushing and the driver coaxing the dog by name, she got on the bus. 

This reminded me of my own children's bus driver. He passed away a few years ago of a terrible degenerative disease called Lou Gehrig's. He used to wait for our kids when they were late catching it. They would run clear from the house to the end of the road, and he would wait. And once, my son forgot his musical instrument. My son called from the school with that desperate tone and pleaded for help. I didn't have a car. I took the instrument to the next bus that came about an hour later--the bus for the younger kids. I explained the situation. The bus driver took the instrument for my son and delivered it to him at the school. The school was a bit off his route. When I went to the viewing honoring his life and waited in the long, long line of people who might have had a similar experience, that's the image that kept coming to me--of him graciously offering to take the instrument. 

And back to today, after the dog got on the bus, I smiled all the way home. Then, as often happens in a small town, my neighbors stopped their car for a chat. If you are from a small town, you'll know that we talked right in the middle of the road. We caught up on all the latest news until the next car came up behind that one. But that one also was a neighbor who rolled down his window to say hello. In a few weeks I'll be heading to the other side of the country to visit my daughter in Brooklyn and I will love every minute of it, but I will be more than glad to get on that return flight for home.

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