August 15, 2012 by Erin
Each morning on my 5-minute commute, I get caught behind a truck that waters the flower baskets hanging from every telephone pole on the town’s main roads. Rumor has it, taking care of those flowers is a full-time, city-paid job. This is small town living, where my tax dollars go toward plant care instead of food for the drug dogs. Isn’t that fantastic?
I think so. I love my town. I didn’t grow up here, but when I came here for college, I fell in love with the rolling hills, the mayor in cowboy boots, the two stoplights, and, of course, the hanging baskets. It’s not really a typical small town, since it revolves around two higher ed institutions. I’m willing to bet we have a higher concentration of PhDs than most places in Kentucky, and most residents have a pretty big worldview. It’s not one of those “Mama, no one never gets outta this place, you gotta let me go to hair school in Knoxville” kind of small towns. We’re still pretty quaint though.
At about 2:00 this afternoon, for instance, I left the office to drop by the post office and hang some event flyers around town. They’re used to seeing me every Wednesday in the PO, so I mailed packages and made small talk. Someone walked in behind me and was greeted loudly with “Well, hey Joe!” I then moved further down Main Street, where I stopped in the middle of the road (which I was jaywalking across) to swap howdies with Ron, the UPS guy who delivers to my office. My next stop was the closed-on-Sunday grocery store. As I hung my posters on the community cork board, a random old man asked me what the advertised event-speaker had been up to lately. I am, of course, expected to know such things. I gave a vague, friendly answer, said “thank you” to the cashier, and bought an Ale-8 from the machine before hopping back in my car.
Driving back to work, sun shining, windows down, I couldn’t help but smile. This might not be the place where everybody knows my name, but it’s close. A lot of people pretend they know my name, anyway, and that’s something.