writing

Small Town Charm

I wish I had an opportunity to take you home. No, not to my parents or where we grew up; not even where I was born. Not to a place we called our own, although that would be nice too.

I wished I’d been able to show you where my family is from. It isn’t really anyplace special, just a small town nestled in the Appalachian mountains. It’s a place where everyone knows you, even if you have never met them before.

There’s the small pizza joint, run by someone who graduated with my folks. It’s a small place, and pizza is basically what they have. There aren’t many restaurants here; most folks eat at home or make the 10 to 20 mile trek to eat out when they go shopping.

There’s a park with a pond and camping sites, along with shelters. That’s where we have our family reunions. Some years, there around 40 or so; but sometimes we’ve had hundreds.

Winding down the road, we pass my aunt and uncle’s and their kids places. My cousins rarely venture far away from home. I’m the most foreign of them all.

When we come up to the fork, if we go right, we’ll pass Dad’s place, and pass more family. If we go the other, we’ll pass where my grandparents and step father are buried. If we keep going, we’ll end up looping around and heading back to town…or we could eventually take a right and head down the road to my other grandparents place.

It’s a slower pace of life here. People take time to bring dishes and bake and care for one another. There’s the downside too…everyone knows everyone else’s business and some can’t help but to get all up in it. But still, they’d loved to meet you.

It would have been great to see your face as Grandpa pulled out a jar of honey with the wax still in it, or his famous strawberry jam. He taught me how to spoon peanut butter out of the jar and stick it to my tongue to eat it.

I’d like to see how you would have responded as Mom’s family came together, a smorgasbord of plates and desserts for Christmas, followed by pranks with the holiday gifts. Grandma’s red velvet cake, Aunt’s peanut butter pie, the list goes on. Sadly, so much of those days are gone now that my grandparents have passed away.

The small town is there, and some of the good stuff remains. There was the rolling store, bringing groceries to this rural area. It was family run a long time ago, but they still get delivery service from Schwann’s. The rolling store was more fun; we got to pick a treat when they came by.

I took a friend there once, back in high school days. I had her convinced the homes had outhouses. They really didn’t but that was funny. I wonder if you would have fell for it too.

Most of the homes where my family lives were built by our own family. That’s the way they do it there…someone in the family or a good friend usually has the skills and the boys to do the labor. I’m always amazed; it’s an art that gets lost as we move into bigger towns and cities, I guess.

Oh, I wish I could’ve shared this place. So much to see and experience for a quiet sleepy little place. But, it’s growing up too; I hope not too fast. I think you would love it.

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