Living in a small town means I enjoy coffee that is delivered to my office; coffee roasted locally by the husband of a woman who taught piano to my daughter 15 years ago. And, on Saturdays I walk two streets over to the Farmers Market to buy beef from cows raised in Lassen County. The rancher is a woman whose father I used to help care for a decade ago.
I’m a bit of a homebody so frequent travel isn’t my thing, but when I do need to fill my gas tank, I drive to a station where an attendee pumps the gas and cleans my windshield and the owner bills me monthly.
Our house is old and a bit wonky as it was built in fits and starts, like so many others in this area. According to records, the house had two previous owners in the last 30 years or so. Turns out, I attended the retirement party of one of them 20 years ago and the other prescribed glasses for me once.
We have several cats and dogs in our homey, wonky house. One of them is a Lhaso/Shitzu mix we call Millie — a rescue dog that belonged to the father-in-law of my daughter’s sister-in-law’s best friend.
I’ve rescued numerous cats and dogs throughout my life.
Most recently, I helped find an adoptive home for a little kitten I’d seen in Pet of the Week. The girl who took her in works at a local grocery store and decorated a cake for my youngest daughter’s high school graduation in 2017. Come to find out, I’ve also taken several classes from her stepmom.
In our small office in this little town, I learned that my boss’s wife’s son used to work for my husband and another employee here took Lamaze classes with my grandchildren’s other grandma while she was pregnant with their father.
My sisters live in the Bay Area and often wonder why I like living in small towns. I’ll tell you: It’s the connectivity; the ripple effect of each encounter and action and the way those elements shape relationships.
Plus, there’s no place to hide, so anonymity is not an option. Our town does not easily forget the imprint of those who trod this land.
Many devoted citizens give generously of their time and energy to contribute to the goodness of our shared home — impacting lives and building a better tomorrow. I see them working hard.
Authenticity and transparency are the best and sometimes the worst parts of coexisting in a small town. Each action affects many others — also for better or worse. So, I hope my contribution is a good one — or at least not harmful (although I have my moments).
In this small town, we mourn and celebrate together. We write in the journal of one another’s lives and there is nothing small about that.