There are things about small towns that make them worth living in. The kind of things that sometimes we don’t realize we have until they’re gone. Small towns are the last to see change, and for the most part thats a good thing. Some changes can be good. Some changes cannot be helped, and some changes are the ones I’d like to talk about here.
There is change in our town that I hoped I would never see. Perhaps this change has always been, and it is only now that I have enough grey in my hair to see it. Perhaps it’s just me holding on to an ideal that no longer applies. An ideal that harkens to a time when people spoke face to face. A time when we treated our neighbor as a friend. A time when neighbors “shared” a fence, not argued over property lines. A time that a foray into a neighbors yard was called a “visit”, not trespassing. An ideal that the citizens of our small town shared a belief in the way things “should be”. That shouldn’t change.
Each week I read the letters to the editor, and each week I am amazed at the onslaught of complaints. Each week they compile, as if driven by some melancholy contest, to see who can complain the most. They complain as though they have accomplished something in the complaint itself. As though they seek some sort of recognition for making their personal complaint the best. They complain as though they have no other responsibility than to assign the problem to someone else.
There was a time when people didn’t look to the town to solve their problems. A time when you reached for your work gloves, and not the telephone, when the neighbors yard needed some help. When police officers arrested criminals, and not weeds. A time when neighbors worked out their problems over a cool drink and a handshake. A time when people did what was right, because “right and wrong” hadn’t changed.
When did we stop caring about the way things should be? Why did we stop changing the world, and start letting the world change us? What caused us to stop treating each other the way we did in the time of our grandparents? When did we become so reliant on someone else solving our problems, that we forgot how to take care of ourselves? Of each-other?
I for one will hold on to this ideal for as long as I can. I will treat my neighbor as a friend. I will do all that I can to fix my problems, and those of my neighbors, before I make them yours. I will do my part, as will many who read this, to protect our small town from this kind of change. After-all its not the size of the town that matters, its the size of the people in it.
Would you like to know the man who wrote this letter to the editor of his small town paper? I do. In fact, he is my nephew and I'd like to know him better.
I don't know if we agree on politics or religion or food choices or art, music, literature or anything else. However, what he said here--I totally agree with.
We could use more of this kind of love--don'cha think? I do.
For more Love Thursday, visit Karen at Chookooloonks...