Monday, July 16, 2007

My country visit

Pardon me for not writing much lately - I even missed the Harry Potter Friday Five!! :( Oh well. I went ouf town the last few days to see my friends in the glorious little town of Mankato, KS. It's a small rural town north of Salina, near the Nebraska border and one of my good friends from seminary is the new pastor there. She and her husband moved into the parsonage (next door to the church) a couple of weeks ago and I went to see them and help them a little bit with the house. We did manage to get one room pretty much done, which is great progress, but we didn't do anything towards painting or removing wall paper, which was what I had expected to be doing. There's just a lot of work to be done on the house itself and then "moving in," i.e. finding the right places for all of their stuff. One thing they have going for them is that the house is plenty big!

I've never lived in a small town; I always lived in suburban type of areas (or the island of Aruba, which is really its own thing altogether) so really didn't know what it would be like to visit my friends. I've visited small towns before, but really just going home with a friend from college or something like that where there were other things going on so that I didn't really experience the town for itself. This weekend was generally very relaxing - we only worked on that one room for less than half of Saturday (with 3 of us working, it just didn't take very long), but spent the rest of the time walking around town (I got the grand tour). Dakotah the Beagle loved getting to wander around a new place - there was lots of sniffing to be done and several dogs and cats to track. :) I have to admit that there's a lot more there than I expected there would be. Of course, this town is the county seat, but the only chain restaurant in town is a Pizza Hut that's open Thursday, Friday and Saturday only.

This little trip got me thinking about what my expectations are in life - for example, the fact that pizza is only available 3 days a week at first freaked me out. What if I want pizza on a Monday?? So, I expect to be able to get what I want whenever I decide I want it. Hmmm. Not something I think I'm proud of, and yet isn't that "the American dream"? Oy. There's not Target, or even a WalMart within 30 minutes, so if you need something from the store, you have to go to the little stores in town (which are very cute, I must admit) before they close (they're all closed on Sunday, and most close by 6 weeknights and afternoon on Saturday). It's just so different from anything I've ever known! Not that I think I couldn't do it - I loved being there for the weekend and things had a more relaxed, laid back feel to them. The church was nice (other than their little bat problem), the people were friendly, you can walk everywhere in town, and it's not like things are cut off from the world with cable and the internet. Trouble didn't get to go with me on this little trip, so we'll definitely be going back together sometime. have you ever lived in a small, rural town? Do you think it's better or worse than urban/suburban living? Why?

9 comments:

hipchickmamma said...

good to hear you enjoyed your stay!

i think there are pros and cons of both--you just have to decide which you are more comfortable with.

it makes me sad (sort of) to think about the freedom that i had as a kid and how my kids are anything but free since we live in the burbs.

on the other hand, i was a kid who didn't fit in and when we moved to a city it was fantastic! i was no longer socially isolated.

there's my two cents. glad you made it home safely!

Big Unit said...

I grew up in Coffeyville, KS; you may have seen it on the news in the last 2 or 3 weeks they had devasating floods that made the national news. It is bigger than the one you visited. 8 square miles. Everything closes at 9 pm. Limited choices. Like hipchic said, it was great as a kid - riding your bike all over town all summer. Knowing just about everybody in town. In someways I would like to live in a place like that again and for Jackson & Tyler to grow up like that, but in other ways no thanks. BTW, my mom and 3 sisters still live there.

Mrs. M said...

I grew up in cities, moved to a small town after college. At first I loved it-- beautiful and quaint. I'm starting to realize, though, that the energy of the city is really precious to me, and I miss that. To me, cities feel friendlier (though I'll admit that this small town might be a little more private/quiet than many others).

Mary said...

MC- I don't know that I can add anything to the big town/small town conversation. I never lived in a small town but have spent a great deal of time visiting in them. I have several friends that grew up in little towns and they often talk about how lonely or isolated they felt as children.

Big Unit- was your mom and sisters effected by the floods? From the news it looked like the whole town was under water and that the terrible spill from the refinery.

Big Unit said...

No, my family wasn't effected. Thanks for asking. A friend of mine lost his farm, several hundred thousand dollars. Lots of friends were effected either their home or job.

Mary said...

Big Unit- I'm glad your family is ok. It's very sad so many lost so much.

Trouble said...

i have a hard time distinguishing if my affinity for the small town/country is really for that, or for the time that i lived there. i can't tell if the simplicity was based in the town or the life lived 20+ years ago, or being a kid. there was a carefreeness that was in some or all of that. it didn't bother me that i couldn't buy gas on a sunday, becuase i didn't have a car. we knew our neighbors very well, there was a community.

Big Unit said...

So true trouble. Life offered everything we wanted as kids in a small town. As an adult, my wants have changed; a small town would still fulfill my needs though. And I would probably be much happier worrying less about my wants and taking better care of my needs.

mandyc said...

Thanks for all the conversation everyone, and BU, I'm glad the family is ok.

I think I've always written off the country life as too boring or isolating, but can see why there are good things about it too. Neither situation is perfect - there are pros and cons either way...