“Do you know all these people from growing up here or from working at the paper?”It was a question lodged by an out-of-town friend in town for her first ever Callicoon Tractor Parade. She’d been in town for no more than 10 minutes and already watched me greet more than a dozen people by first name.
Still, her question caught me off guard.
Which is it?
Would I know as many people if it weren’t for my job at the paper?
Would a childhood spent exploring the nooks and crannies of the town have been enough, the last name familiar to most enough?
Does growing up in a small town mean that you know everybody?<
Sometimes it does.
But not always. There are strangers in small towns too, people who keep to themselves, who don’t show up to volunteer or even to attend the events thrown together by the constantly volunteering
I’m always shocked by the folks I meet in Monticello who’ve never been to Callicoon and vice versa.
Our area is so small that small town living is less about the particular town you hail from, more about the entire county. You may drive half an hour to visit your doctor, half an hour again in the other direction to buy a gallon of milk.
Explaining the town you’re “from” is complicated when the “town” where you live has no stores, the “town” where you get your mail has no postal delivery, the “town” where you stock up on groceries a different zip code from the one where you lay down your head at night.
That we’re so spread out is an indication of just how small we are, but it makes truly living a small town experience that much more work.
Upon reflection, I’ll admit that the answer to my out-of-town friend’s question was probably 50/50. Some came to me naturally. Some I’ve found because I work a job that is always forcing me out of my home, out of my comfort zone.
And I’m glad to say it has. I’ve met people I have come to call close friends, met people who remind me why it is that small town life is the life for me.
If you want that, you can’t just sit around and wait for it to happen.
You have to get out. You have to join in.
You’ll like what you find. I promise.
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