Small Towns and the Best They Offer

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Below.

I come from a tiny Southern  town known as Donalsonville, Georiga. I’ve always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with it and I finally figured out why. It all comes down to how small towns  view both  diversity,  a thing that intrigues me, and the universality of the human experience, something that captivates me equally.

Attract Him Back

Small towns aren’t usually big on diversity. And that’s diversity of many things, not just one. If you don’t think like others,  you’re left out,  excluded,  misunderstood.  It took a long time for me to find other people who think the way I do, and they’re a terribly rare and  wondrous find.

For as much as I loved where I grew up, I was the different one who never fit in. I understand  it from an objective point of view. Small towns are families drawn together by similar traits. They need the bond of familiarity, and diversity…too  much diversity…causes  fear and distance.

It’s not that lack of diversity is a bad thing for small

towns, but when you relish diversity, it makes life a little more difficult  at times.  And that’s  the heart of my dilemma with small towns.

The very best that a small town has to offer can be summed up in how it treats its own in times of greatest grief.

My daughters  were…impressed.  They’ve  never  seen anything quite like this but Daddy’s death showed them things I’ve talked about to them all their lives.

The way  neighbors  pulled  together  and  were  there when it was really important, getting my dad to the hospital when 911 couldn’t send an ambulance because of bureaucratic red tape.

The  way  people  brought  food…tons  of  food…a grand potluck buffet that we nibbled off of for days when we had no appetite for cooking.

The way—and this is the one that always makes my heart catch—the cars pull over for the funeral procession. The girls  have  seen  me  do this  in other  towns,  larger towns,  and  usually  some  idiot  behind  me  honks  and makes a rude gesture for slowing him down. They understand now why I do.Life Coaching Tips

There’s something  about the way cars pull over and the local police block traffic on a four-lane highway to let the procession  cross the  street, and the way the police and people on the street take off their hats in respect… something about the way everything stops in respect and connection…something  about being in a procession  and looking out  and seeing the response  of other people… that connection  with other people on such gut level understanding of deep personal loss.

That is the universality of the human experience. And it is at its very best in small towns.