Thursday, September 24, 2009

The view

This morning as I was driving the short mile to work, I had one of those "I really like where I live" moments. I wondered how many people can say that and really mean every word of it?

Small town dwellers often take for granted where they reside. The hidden beauties and non inconvenient inconvenciences that are passed by every day.

The view that I used to see on my way to work was industrial. Cars on the highways. Big buildings competing for my attention. Stores that had things I wanted and things I didn't. Restaurants that served good, not so good, cheap and really expensive meals. Construction signs and cones, and people along the way with a look - the idea that work is dreadful. Office buildings with no views packed full of cubicles and people stumbling over each other to reach the ladder they must climb to reach the top.

The view this morning? An older couple walking their dog on the sidewalk strewn with brightly covered leaves. School busses taking our students to the buildings for which their minds are enriched. A mother waving good bye to one child on the bus while pushing a stroller and holding the hand of a toddler. Cars filled with townspeople, neighbors and friends on their way to their jobs, waving as they passed by. There was even a construction crew - at the corner of Weston and "Main". But it wasn't tying up traffic. The train - which in this small town is known as "traffic" - blocked two out of the three cross streets getting into downtown. Most sat patiently and watched as commerce passed through town via the rails, some turned around and chose the "underpass" to get around "traffic". But there wasn't a hurry, or fists, or horns or frustration.

As I pulled into my parking lot, I gazed at some of the beautiful turn of the century buildings - many built in the late 1880's before me. Many have been retrofit to look more modern, many have been restored to their glory day beauty. The beautiful hanging flower baskets? Well they are the icing on the cake!

I thought about how lucky I was to be able to walk into the historic opera house to grab my morning coffee - owned by my good friend. As I passed through a doorway in the same lower level of the opera house I entered her retail store. Brightly decorated to welcome this new season. She showed me the new jewelry she received to sell, and we talked about the things we talk about.

I then strolled back down the block to my office, waving to some, shouting out greetings to others, and in one case, a lewd gesture just for fun. Half way down the block our town Mayor joined me on the sidewalk. We returned to my office to enjoy our coffee and talk about small town stuff that small town Mayors talk about.

I do have a nice job - most days it consists of just "visiting" with people. My big stresses consist of "am I doing enough to make my members happy?", and "what can I do to keep my budget going", but for the most part I can make my day anything I want it to be. There are many jobs in this small town that are not as fun, many more than I am sure I am aware of. I had one of them once. Just around the corner from where I am now. But one thing that remains true at almost every job in this small town - there are friendly people everywhere. And they all know your name (for good and bad).

Sure we don't have a mall. We can't buy designer labels close to home. A trip to Target requires a little scheduling and a 45 minute drive in the middle of no where which sometimes can be inconvenient. Adjusting was not easy, but I happily gave that all up when I moved to my small town.

And the view is pretty darn nice to boot!
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