Tag: town

Sounds Of My Town by …JoAnn

It’s early morning, the sun is just starting to rise, and I am listening to the birds outside my window. They are very loud, but I adore their music. Happy birds, all singing a different song, waking up together, are my favorite sound in nature.

When I hear the birds, I know that my little rural town is also waking up. I know that soon I will hear cars being warmed up in their driveways as people are preparing to rush off to work. Next, I will hear the very distinct sound of the school bus coming down our street to pick up my neighbor’s children. Throughout the day, farmers will drive their trucks, or oversized equipment, up and down my road, making a big thump as they go over the bump directly in front of my driveway. That can get pretty noisy at times, but I have grown used to it now.

The sounds I will hear on Saturdays are children playing in their yards, lawnmowers working hard, and maybe a chainsaw in the distance. A dog will bark, and now and then, a cow will moo. Traffic in the neighborhood is heaviest on Saturday as people are out taking care of things left for their weekend.

Sunday is the quietest of all days. There is usually a rush of cars through town after church. We have many churches in my small town. It has always seemed strange to me as to just how many churches we have, with it being a population of around 2100. When we first moved here 30 years ago, I joked that there was a church on every corner. But there actually was more truth to that statement. Right off hand, I can count 15 churches in my town that are open for business every Sunday.

I left my home at 8:30 p.m. last night to do a quick errand to the store before they closed at 9:00. As with most small towns, I would imagine that all the sounds change drastically after the sun goes down. I have been here many years, and to this day, it still takes me by surprise when I drive down the road after dark, and it is so eerily quiet. It was like driving in a ghost town. Not one sound came from any direction, and of course, I was the only car on the road.

I spent a good chunk of my life in a big city. That is where I learned to drive. I was pretty used to the city being awake and active around the clock. It was nothing unusual to go grocery shopping at 10 or 11 at night while my kids were home sleeping. Their daddy was with them, of course. I loved going at that time because I knew they were home safe & sound in their beds. I could take my time and have a nice drive alone. It was awesome. I have not been able to do that again since we moved away 30 years ago. I miss it. I miss being able to run to a store late at night if I needed something like medicine for a sick child. I had to learn to keep both my medicine cabinet and pantry stocked.

I’m thankful for the quiet of the early morning with just me and the neighborhood birds. It’s a peaceful, pleasant way to start my day. It’s probably the number 1 thing that I love about living in a small rural town.
I would certainly miss it if I ever moved back to a big city. And I am also thankful for the quietness of the night and the safety that I feel here. But I do miss the sounds of the city now and then.

Wherever your hometown is now, l hope you too find peaceful and pleasant sounds to start and end your days.

Do I Know You?

When we first moved to our little Tennessee town in 1992, I jokingly told family and friends that we had moved to Mayberry.  That seemed to be the only way to accurately describe where we had landed.

In many ways, it felt like we had time traveled back to the fifties or sixties.  It was a culture shock for someone like myself, who had just spent the last 20 years of my life in the loud, bustling city of Newport News, Virginia.  We lived within walking distance (and definite earshot) of the world-famous shipyard.

In the city, people or neighbors, pretty much kept to themselves.  We all had the attitude, I’ll mind my business, and you mind yours.  Oh, we could be friendly if we were in the mood to nod or introduce ourselves to a new neighbor.  But mostly that was for the young mothers on the street so their kids could become acquainted and be playmates.  Or this was my experience in the particular neighborhood where we lived.

I quickly realized that in this small, Mayberry like town, everyone knew everyone.  And I was the new stranger in town.  I had never felt like an interloper before, but found myself in that position.  Looking back, I couldn’t really blame the citizens of our new home town.  After all, their families had lived in this area for generations!

Many of the kids that attended the small elementary and middle schools were cousins.  Their parents, and their parents, had all gone through school together in these same two buildings.  It was not uncommon for a teacher to have taught several generations of the same family by retirement age.

Early on, I was quite puzzled by something that kept happening to me.  It seemed every time I drove on Main Street, drivers that passed me would wave.  “Do I know you?”, I would think to myself as I waved back with what I’m sure was a bewildered look on my face.  I wasn’t use to this friendliness.  Surely, they had me mistaken for someone else.  That’s it.  I must look A LOT like another lady that lives here and they think I’m her!  Perhaps my doppelganger is right here in my Mayberry.  That had to be the explanation.  Why else would I be receiving waves from strangers?  I had never received them in the city unless someone was trying to warn me something was wrong with my car.

After a few months, I learned that I was not being mistaken for my twin.  The waving was just their culture.  A way of being friendly to us strangers.  I met many people along the way that were truly kind and neighborly.  Who accepted me into their fold I guess you could say.  But I also met many who never quite let the stigma of my being a stranger go.

It’s been 26 years, and honestly, not a lot has changed in our little town.  I still get waved at when driving and still find myself asking, “do I know you?”.  Sometimes, if I’m in a playful mood, I’ll flip things around.  I’ll wave back in such a way, that just maybe, they will be asking themselves, “do I know her?”.  Ha, ha!

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