1. Roadside food. I don't mean diners or even kiosks, I mean stopping along the road to collect (sometimes) luxury food items for dinner. Morel mushrooms can be found by the side of the road or deep inside the forest. It's not uncommon in the spring to see a truck or car that has veered off the side of the road. At first glance, you think they've wrecked but, no, it's just a lucky person stopping off to pick morel mushrooms. They go for about $28 a pound at the local grocery store. Wild blackberry bushes are also fair game and can be found in many areas. On my drive home, there is usually a cardboard sign with a phone number to call, to order and pick up your blackberries. In the country, many people share their vegetables (freely) or inexpensively sell their brown eggs roadside as well.
|© 2011 by Diane Weidenbenner|
3. Getting to know people's names everywhere you go. At the local Burger King, Big Lots, Menards, Dairy Queen, you get the picture. I can't tell you how many times I've been called "Hon!" I guess there are worse things to be called. If you spend any length of time with someone (say your having a pedicure), you feel like you've made a new best friend by the time you leave. My friend, Sandy, and I go garage sailing and it never fails - we discover that we know the person or they know someone who knows someone who we know. I also learned that I shouldn't run out without putting basic make-up or styling my hair because I will inevitably run into someone I know or work with, at the grocery store, movie theater, farmer's market, Good Will, etc., or end up in a news report with the sweat dripping down my face. Attractive, I know!
4. Referrals are gospel. If you need a plumber, you ask for a referral. If you need snow removed from your 3-foot ice-packed driveway, you ask someone for a referral. Forget Angie's List which hasn't made the impact in Terre Haute that it has in other cities. You ask a friend and you find someone who owns the business, has their family invested in its success and cares about the product or service that you receive. If someone is not honest or trustworthy, word gets around quickly also and you know who NOT to call for help.
5. People like to help other people. I've been stuck in the snow and out of nowhere a father-and-son team appear to help push me safely out of harm's way. During a terrible wind/rain storm when a tree branch went through my mom's roof, her neighbors helped move the heavy branches and even offered to patrol the neighborhood with their shotgun until the electricity came back on. One guy actually had surveillance cameras on various sides of his house and informed my mom that if there was ever any suspicious activity, he'd let her know. Okay, that was a little creepy but it was the thought that counts, right?!
I could go on but you get the gist. For the most part, the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences. If all this means I live in a small town (with a big heart), I'm okay with it.