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Comedians joke about them; big city folks cast aspersions on them; and big business pretends they donât exist.Â
Of course, Iâm talking about small towns -Â where you know allÂ your neighbors, and a trip to Wal-Mart is the social event of the week.Â
When I lived in New Orleans, I could sneak intoÂ TargetÂ without make-up or even matching shoes,Â confident I wouldnât wouldnât meet a soul I knew.Â Now I canât get out of Kroger without running into my dentist, my pastor, or my hairdresser.Â Â
When IÂ dashed to the store last weekÂ without make-up,Â three peopleÂ expressed concern that I was ill.Â One even brought me some chicken soup later in the day.
Take my advice, youâd betterÂ get dressed to the nines to go âsteppingâ outâ in my town, even if going out is only to pay your electric bill.Â And, never, ever, plan to be in a hurry.Â
Thereâs no such thing as dashing into the store for a quick loaf of bread.Â Youâll run into at least four or fiveÂ people you know,Â and there will be grandbaby photos to oooh over, and I never leave the store without a good recipe or two.Â
While waiting at the check out counter, my favorite thing to ask is âExcuse me, Mâam. What are you going to do with those 12 bags of spinach?âÂ Okay, so Iâm nosy, but I either find out there is a great sale on spinach or they will write down the recipe for some old family favorite.
When I selected the community in which to retire, I hit the jackpot.Â Starkville, Mississippi isÂ still small enough toÂ qualify for theÂ small town moniker, yet it bumps smack dab into a major university which adds energy and nightly opportunities for concerts, plays and sporting events.
Thank goodness I didnât pick some huge honking metropolis.Â I would already have been gobbled up and spit out.Â Here, I have more activitiesÂ than I can pencil in, and âdoing lunchâ is the favorite pastime.
The first thing I did when I moved to town was to start a walking program. I loveÂ to walk the old neighborhoods and spot a clothesline orÂ some other vestige of the distant past.Â But, every time I go out walking, at least one motorist stops to ask if I need a lift.Â I assure them Iâm walking on purpose.Â Before they drive off, they always ask âHowâs yourÂ Daddy and âem?âÂ
Small townâthe phrase evokes the small community where I grew up and now theÂ one Iâve adopted. Both offer an intimate sense of community, leafy serenity, and freedom from the cold, grimy canyons of the big city.
I read the other day that a small town is like a mother who watches over her children.Â Kind of gives you a warm feeling, doesnât it?
Emily Jones isÂ a retire journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement.Â She welcomes comments at www.deludeddiva.com.View more articles in: