Posts Tagged 'small town America'

First lightning bugs sighted at the corner of Church and Graveyard

6 days ago, on our evening walk, we saw lightning bugs. The other night I saw a bat out of the corner of my eye.

The official start of summer hasn’t happened yet, but summer seems to be sneaking in with heat, humidity, and shore traffic. And my thoughts skitter off to remember the delights:

  • Sitting on gnarled rhododendron branches that stretched over the edge of the lake at Girl Scout camp.
  • Or lazing in a hammock on the wrap around porch at my great aunt’s house, reading an Agatha Christie novel.
  • Walking to get popsicles with my father near the lake.
  • Fish boils at family reunions.

(And now because of my search, I’ve started watching a very gentle public tv show about Northern Door County… yes, it shows fall weather, but beautiful shots of the lake).

So, anyone else have summer vacation memory triggers?

Small town America and Easter

There’s something about small town America that I’m not sure exists in other countries (but I could be wrong). My Mom grew up in a small town in the Midwest, moved 580 miles or so to a small city on the East coast, and then I moved south to the big city for college. While at college, I became homesick at Easter, and couldn’t find a church from my home denomination, so I went to the closest denomination I knew (Methodist, which had been my Mom’s church). I was 69 further miles away from where my Mom had started (close t0 700 miles) and someone greeted me with, “Aren’t you –‘s daughter?” When I think back on that woman (who was possibly only 10 years older than I am now), I smile. She gave me a small shock, but she may have known my mother.

The Methodist denomination is not small. At the time, it felt like there was an unseen pathway of information, almost like ants carrying wild ginger seeds underground to eat, and starting a colony in a place you don’t expect. There is a strong tug underneath the whole story — the triumph of small town America, where we tell family members back home about a visit to Central Park in New York City, and they ask “did you see the Jones boy? I hear he’s in the Bronx now.” There’s an eternal optimism that people don’t get lost, they just turn up… and coincidences are amazing but not as unusual as you think. Sometimes, to those of us who feel like we’ve escaped the small town, it feels like ghost tracks in our hearts, like we’re not as anonymous as we think. But other times, it’s incredibly reassuring even if we are hardworking college students and not prodigal sons.