I had always been enchanted with the idea of small town life, especially after watching movies like "Doc Hollywood" and "Steel Magnolias" (two of my favorites!) I envisioned friendly, quirky neighbors who would bring us cookies when we moved in and invite us to join them on the porch in the evening. I envisioned happily shopping at mom-and-pop stores where the clerks knew you by name, and a church that would be delighted to have a young new family move in and get involved. So when we moved from Baton Rouge and settled in this relatively small town, I had high hopes. Reality, as usual, turned out to be somewhat different.
Before we moved here, I thought it would be great to shop at mom-and-pop stores rather than the big national chains. I quickly found myself frustrated with the lack of stores which I had always taken for granted: Michaels, Office Max, Marshalls or T.J. Max; large bookstores like Barnes & Noble or Books A Million. I found myself missing the cultural opportunities I had enjoyed for years: symphony concerts, national touring productions, and yes, Ice Capades. But the hardest thing was finding a place to "fit in". Although most people were friendly, most people had also lived here for all their lives and had well-established circles of family and friends. They didn't need to make room for newcomers and didn't recognize the longing we had to make connections. We found that members at the church we had joined did not welcome our new ideas with enthusiasm- we were seen as "outsiders" coming in with "progressive" ideas. We were disappointed and tried desperately to leave the area, but God shut every door. And slowly... things improved.
We found another church in town which had been through some enormous changes since we had first arrived. They were wounded by the previous few years and so were we, so it seemed a good place to start again. We got involved, and this church became family. And after spending years coaching sports teams, leading a 4-H club and scrapbooking workshops, and -for John- switching jobs a few times, we have finally found a place to "fit in". In the meantime, lots of stores also moved in: Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Office Max and Office Depot, LifeWay, Books A Million, Kohls, Gander Mountain, and many others. My shopping needs have been satisfied. In addition, the city has built a large performing arts center, so we now get all kinds of music and theater productions from across the nation. This is a great place to live and although there are things I still miss about the big city, there are also things I wouldn't trade for anything the big city had to offer. It has taken ten years, but we are delighted to call this small town "home".
Things I Like About Our Small Town
And Things I Still Miss About the Big City
What would you add?