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Editor’s Pick
JULY 11, 2012 3:46AM

Small Town Life

Rate: 62 Flag




I have lived in some small towns, though, I was lucky that most of them had at least a movie theater, a place to buy stuff and a enough people outside of your family that, if you wanted to, you could bring someone other than your sibling or cousin to the spring dances and such.


Good times indeed.


My mom's hometown was not so lucky.


Where she grew up, the population was twenty three(today, the population has grown to a big time city of forty-eight) and had a gas station, three times daily trains going through and a grain elevator.


There was a school for the county but the local fire marshall decided he wanted some job security(I kid you not) and moonlighted as an arsonist.


He burned down the school, part of the firehouse and his car (which was by accident, according to official court records. A leak in his gasoline container plus a still glowing match = car goes whoosh!) within a few months time frame.


If it hadn't been for Ms. Martha's watchful eyes and seeing Fire Marshall Dan fleeing from the scene, his pants ablazed, the case would still be unsolved!


My hometown, that place which grew me from a bright eyed elementary school child to possibly an adult, though I would never use the word 'grown up', was small enough that we could use the term small town and not have to go to confession for lying on the day of our Lord.


But it was big enough that we had a K-Mart AND a Woolworth within walking distance of each other.


Woolworth was the big store in the mall until K-Mart opened up nearby and chased them away. 


Now that spot is occupied by a fashion shop and K-Mart is close to death because of Walmart farther down the road.


The movie theater in the mall, the place were I kissed Mary Swanson on the lips back in 7th grade(our first date, don't remember the movie, too busy kissing!), is still there. 


It still has crappy flat soda!


We brought our own! 


My mom's home town had a movie theater too but to get to it, you had to pile into the car, drive an hour both ways and hoped that the movie reels made it from Bufford in time for the 7pm showing.


Sometimes they didn't, the afternoon train from Bufford was stopped by cattle crossing the tracks, or the train's engineer was falling down drunk from Aunty Still's 'Medicine' bottle on his way through Alex's Falls.


Then, they would get to watch some newsreels from 1928 and possibly a cartoon or two from 1943 and go to Chip's for some chipped beef on toast and a rootbeer.


Small towns, got to love them, if just for the characters.


And the rootbeers!





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Tink, I love small towns, and even when I live in big ones, I try to make me a microcosm, reminding me of a village. I really enjoyed reading this, made me laugh, remember and think. True, one gots to love small towns, cause sometimes they can be too difficult to live!! Loved learning about you and your family, be well and meet a beautiful dog!! (My attemρt of trying to be funny the last one!!)
Oh MY!!! This brought back images of my hometown. Kenosha, Wisconsin was a mere 78,000 when I grew up there. Very little free enterprise, the only places to work were AMC Rambler, Anchor Hocking or Snap-on Tools. Then chrysler did it's job and AMC left, free enterprise moved in, Reader's Digest made it the top city to live in and now it is close to 200,000. You cannot even recognize it.

But they still have "The Spot", an actual car-hop drive-in where my dad and brothers worked as young men. My brother met my sister in law to be there.

And they still have those frosty mug Rootbeers!
And again... the bear...what's with the bear? And really, Walrus dong?
It's an interesting thing to live in a small town next to the largest Air Force Base in the world- Military is SOOOO small town. Makes for the biggest small town in the world. ( Of course I grew up in a small Ohio town, and spent my summers on a Farm in New York where the closest town was 15 miles away, population 400, and my grandfather was Mayor.
Is that Booneville MO? And why no jackalopes?
my small town was chi-town......but we did have A&W root beer...
I have lived in a small town (pop 1100) for 36 years. We also had a volunteer fireman who decided he wasn't busy enough and started burning things down in town, including an old historic mill. We also had "chicken wars" where the town was equally divided between those who believed keeping chickens should be legal, and those who were adamantly opposed. I posted a blog about it somewhere and will fish it out and put in up. I am so jealous of how smooth your video worked. I cannot get video to work on OS. R
You're not one of those interesting characters, are you? My sister goes to New Albany for a few days every summer for a mini-reunion of high school friends. She says it's a lovely town. I'll have to tell her about the root beer--and to watch out for any strange cats lurking around.
This is lovely. Knowing that you are from a small town, makes a lot of sense- because you grew up to be so well- adjusted...of course.

Seriously, great post!
Tink, this brings back memories of hanging out with my cousins in their really small town. If they wanted to "cruise" they had to drive 15 miles to the next town, because their town was too small. I was from the "big" city (at that time about 35,000). :)

@Con - Boonville Missouri doesn't have the "e" in Boone. However, they do have a casino!
Long as there's a beer store nearby, any place is OK with me.
"...chipped beef on toast and a root beer." Gotta love it.
:) small towns
where Walmart is THE place to go
and when you go to McD's everyone knows your name, and if they don't they stare at you like you are on exhibit
....not knocking it at all, it's just so alien- kinda cool, but scary at the same time
Before we got our motion picture house the only commercial attraction was to hang out in front of the butcher shop and watch the butcher use his new automatic slicer. He did it in the store window and townsfolk would crowd around and watch and ohhh and ahhh. Exciting times in the town where Dillinger once spent the night.
I spent 10 years living in a town of 1100, the best thing about it was if my teen did something she shouldn't have, I knew about it before she got home. The worst thing about it was if my teen did something she shouldn't have, I knew about it before she got home.

I do miss my sweet hens but not the roosters, they met the guillotine for criminal attacks. Ah, happy memories...
Sometime if you want to watch a TV show that's arguably the best depiction of smalltown life I've ever come across try "Corner Gas" which ran for 6 years on CTV. It's an absolute hoot.
I ran small town Chambers of Commerce for 12 years with the largest town being 12,000 people. I'd rather be back there than just about anywhere else I can think of.
I've done several posts here on it including a memorable Easter Egg Hunt and the saga of my vasectomy.
Tink, a wonderful vignette of small town atmosphere here in your story! My small town is a little larger, but I know the feeling of so much of what you describe!
Great presentation Tink. I grew up in a small town. Blah blah blah say what you want about them I ran away so fast when the opportunity finally did arise. Enjoyed this. Rated
I grew up in small towns. Then moved to "the big cities" where I spent far too many years "makin' a buck". Now that I'm retired, I'm back in a town of 900 or so (if you include pets).

I think that rooster retired here too. He lives just down the street. The hen used to live just up the road. She's not there any more; the Legion put on a chicken dinner last Sunday........

Here in Floyd we have one stoplight and the locals complain when there are more than four cars waiting in line. We don't lock the car, though, or our house and that's nice...though the meth folks are hangiinng around the fringes. At the bank they call you by name and the candy jar is always full and free for the taking. Great post...
I have a soft spot for the small town too. Thanks for a charming tour.
Tink....My wife and I are in that strange chasm of trying to decide about a move to 'small town life'. After living in various spots (Washington, DC, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis) my wife has this romantic vision of a gazebo in the middle of town, knowing everyone when you walk into the drug-store, etc. As kids, we visited my parents' small town of Thomas, West Virginia (pop. 452) every year. I liked it. But, 'visiting' and 'living' are two different things, I'm sure. Nice post!
Great piece. I remember my hometown, small, dry and a place you could just breathe in.
I live in the big-big city, but no Kmart. There's a bodega down the street, but it's run by a crazy Pakistani who thinks the Jews stole his soul to pay for their involvement with the US government in 9/11. And he's the nicest guy on the block.

To small towns! (Pig rape and all.)

The village idiot, the town drunk, the local meth lab operator -- these are the people who are the bedrock of American democracy!
I just watched the video--awww man, I thought it was going to show "chicken bingo" or "cowpie bingo", a favorite fundraiser in Iowa.
Based on the video, I gather that guys in small towns have big coc... Err ... Roosters.
(nods) I, too, lived in a small town Tink. Except I think it was made of lego. Damn. Wait... squirrel! (runs away)
My city has almost 70,000 now but still feels very small townish to me. Great post.
My city has almost 70,000 now but still feels very small townish to me. Great post.
My city has almost 70,000 now but still feels very small townish to me. Great post.
EP! Congratulations - you rite gud!!!
Cover! Cover! And well deserved!
What the hell is that smudge in the upper right-hand corner? It almost looks like it says "Editor's Pick."
very Keillorish' [Garrison] in tone
Your EP and cover, are my evening's whoopee Pie
Is this April 1st?

Tink made the Cover and he has an EP not ED? The Mayans were right: the world will end. Either that or he paid the New Kid aka Ed I. Tor off with his Cracker Jack's prize.
All kidding aside, congrats! You deserved it.
Tink, not only did you make the cover, but you have an ex-tripper sitting on top of.you. Good times.
Hadn't thought of that, Trudge. Makes it seem even more surreal.
YAY!! EP!!! Woo Hoo!!!
Tink- I read this before it was an Editor's Pick, but now I will have to comment just to say, Yeah! Small towns really DO have bad soda. Nice snapshot of the small places many big hearts and great writing comes from.
Congrats on the EP!!!
EP!! Congratulations- was it drugs,whores or cash?
The End of Days are truly upon us.
You're right about the weird smalltown characters Tink. I grew up in a town of 7,000 - a veritable metropolis by your standards. But the movie theater was still in another town. I don't know if the weirdos are just more anonymous in the big city or whether the forces of inbreeding and isolation just have a stronger effect in the small places.
I can't even imagine living in a town of 23 people. Kathy Riordan's family is bigger then that. Heck, I bet even my extended family can round up 23 people. No arsonists that I know of though. What happened to Marshall Dan?
Tink got an EP, Tink got an EP....wow now I have seen everything :)
Really though great story and I still live in small town America less than 400 folks and I like it...When I moved here the 8th grade graduating class had 9 graduates, now we have 60! Woo Hoo we is a growing up.
EP! Well done!
Now you can relax! On second thought.. nah.. Keep at it!

So many small towns have a cafe named after Ruby. She must have been a friendly, hard working, straight talking gal who loved cinnamon rolls, coffee and gravy.

My first OS video! Cool! R
STATHI, I love small towns myself! I love my hometown and the town I'm living in now! (live close to a fairly big city but it's like a small town too so...:) )

Dianne, the bear is my VP OF MARKETING!! :D

Token, ~nodding~ Heck, a few towns around here have less people than their grave yards!! :D

Con, Bear wanted to put in some jackalopes but we decided our mayor with gun was better!! :D

And that's Booneville, USA! :D

Steel, I want a root beer float!! NUMMY!! :D

Gerald, I think some towns have been destroyed by the chicken wars!! ~nodding~ :D

jl, New Albany is awesome!! And the high school mascot is the same as my high school in Butte, MT -- BULLDOGS!!! :D

tai, I think my "attitude" is due to the arsenic and lead in the water!! :D

Midwest, 35,ooo is good size!! :D (but still small enough that you can be alone when you want to be!! :) )

Boaner, yeah, town gotta have a liquor store for me(none of that dry counties for me!! :D )

jmac, oh my yes!! :D

Julie, ~nodding~ One of the benefits and problems of living in a small town, everybody knows everybody!! EEK! :D

Matt, and I bet the town had a sign at the entry to town telling EVERYONE!! :D

Bleue, oh my yes, poor hens! :( :D Yeah, in small towns, you couldn't do a thing without others knowing about it!! EEK!! :D

Walter, got to love the small towns. ~nodding~ In some areas, they beat big cities' life hands down!!!

designanator, thanks! Small town life might miss some of the attractions a big city can bring but heck, don't miss them that much!! :)

mical, and thanks to you my friend! Yeah, peeps run as fast as they can from their towns. "Best part of my town is seeing it in the rear view mirror!" :D

sky, chicken dinners at the VFW!!! MMMM MMMM!! :D

Rob, ~nodding~ That's the plus plus of living in a small town, free candy!! :D

Stacey, you are very welcome!!!! :)

Matthew, Oh yeah, living in a small town is an adjustment if you use to living in a big city(sidewalks get rolled up at 7pm in small town, 5:30pm on Sundays!!) ~nodding~ :)

Sheila, ~nodding~ Breathing room is nice, that's for sure!! :)

Kid, oh man, I forgot to add about the 'crazy fellow' who think EVERY RELIGION even his own stole his soul!!! :D


Walter, shhh, don't let the Big City folks hear about our fun times. Corn hole is fun too!!! :D

Trudge, exactly!! :D

Cymraeg, SQUIRREL!!! :D

lschmoopie, ~nodding~ I think some big cities still have that small town feel which is why I love Louisville and the local area here, Louisville not HUGE MONSTER CITY but it's a city but it kind of feels like small town, which is good!! Got the benefits of some shopping too!! :D

WAIT, AN EP??? YAY!! Ed I Tor Sugar Cube got my "shipment"!! AND YAY, IN GOOD COMPANY ON THE COVER!! :D

Thanks all, I thought it was smudge too on my screen but...:D

Bowl, Thanks! Yeah, if the towns got some better sodas, they'd get, DEFINITELY MOVE THERE,LEAVE THOSE BIG CITIES IN THE DUST!! :D

Abrawang, I don't know, I think in big cities, you just have so many more weirdos and strangers that you just don't notice that much.


maria, he lived but they put him in prison for awhile. :)

Lunch Lady, WOOOOOOO, town is growing!! :D

EP! EP! Whooooo...and Cover!! EVEN BETTER!! :D

Seriously, thanks everyone!!!!
Natalie, Ruby was an awesome lady, she toured every small town cafe that most decided to name them after her! :D
EP! EP! Small-town boy makes good! Surely this what you fantasized about when you weren't playing kissy face with Mary Swanson.

P.S. My family knew the Swansons and Mary was really a boy.
you sure this new guy isn't Canadian?
Congrats on the EP! Nice picture of your town. Fun mashup of LOLcats and giant chickens -might be the next thing.
Congrats! Even the comments are serious on this one. Going legit on us. What's next?
Booneville: Where Chickens Come Home to Roost.

Love this!

Βravo Tink, it is a great story for all of us the one you wrote!!
Margaret, I knew that too!! Teehee!! :D

Julie, he might be!! BEST ED I TOR EVER!! :D

Muse, it should be if it isn't!! :D

Seer, exactly, my life is stand up comedy!! :D

And I know!!! EP!! EP! :D

phyllis, might be going legit!! EEK!! Nah!! :D

Kate, I LOVE the new Ed I Tor!!! Drinking a root beer in his honor!! :D

Linnnn, Booneville is awesome!! :D

STATHI, I might have to write more!! :D
You have a real EP!! Congratulations! I am verklempt. Not verklempt enough however not to wonder what Mary Swanson is up to these days?
The two really small towns where I lived were Rolla, Missouri - home of a tech university which only recently got a Wal*Mart SuperCenter - and Newark, Ohio, which at last visit had its entire town square demolished except for the Wendy's and the courthouse.

In both places, rather than root beer and chipped beef on toast, crystal meth and handguns are the Saturday night entertainment. The college kids in Rolla don't participate in that; either they're studying all weekend or they carpool to Saint Louis. Newark doesn't have a lot of that, so the casualties are higher.

I haven't been in either town since the coming of satellite TV (since cable didn't make many inroads at either place), so there's no real knowing how jealous those places are of the big city life they are fed daily by DirecTV. It sure hasn't stopped the number of meth labs out there, with the regular rate of rural explosions.
Fire marshal moonlighting as an arsonist--that's the best! Congrats on the EP, Tink!
[r] congrats and thanks for the laughs! best, libby
Congrats on the EP and cover, you Damn Cat. Finally, an Ed I Tor who recognises what many of us did years ago -- that your trademarked lunatic brand of wee-hours satire and humour is usually spot-on.

And Jake? There's lots more where this came from. Just stay tuned to this same cat channel (a nod and wink to 60s television addicts).
Congrats on the EP! Everyone was bored and pregnant in my small town.
You got me feeling sorry for K-Mart. Cool, cat!
Tink, you always make me laugh...er...purr....

Congrats on the EP and the COVER!!!!
My home town in Iowa was the big city (all 28,000 of us) for all the farming villages in the area. A great place to study the fashion styles of seed company caps.
EP huh?.......i smell a mouse.......lol....congrats man....
Yeah, for awhile I was considering moving to a small town. Where I spent my summers as a kid. There was this great piece of land on a mountainside overlooking the valley. Then I decided I'd subscribe to the local paper online, to feel the place out. Guess when you are a kid, you don't see the ugly side of a small town. I decided It's quaint, but I'm not quaint enough for it.
Who on the cover? TINK ON THE COVER
and I will say my prayers now because surely
the armageddon thing will be tonight!
heron, she's up to no good!! Says so on her Facebook!! :D

neutron, meth is its own industry in a lot of small towns, that's for sure!! EEK!!

Erica, thank you very much!! Yeah, job security!! :D

Libby, ya welcome!! :)

Boaner, ahhh, thanks my friend!! I do write some funny stuff!! :D

Harry, got to do something when ya bored!! :D

Damon, I feel sorry for K-Mart too, they were never the same when they brought in MArtha Stewart!! :D

Proud, I like to purr too!! :D

Stim, nothing beats a cap!!! :D

Steel, three mice!! Teehee!! :D

Kenny, yeah, definitely can be a life change, that's for sure! EEK!! :)

trig, Hell has frozen over!! EEK!!! :D
Nah, hell ain't froze over yit and that armawhachamacallit is gonna hafta wait a few days. Cuz I only just now fetched me hearing aids to run the video, after reading text this morning. TRIPLE RATED!! Text, video, and EP/Cover. Whew-eeeeeee. ;-)
fricassee, glad ya f0und ya hearing aid and got to see the vid! :D
Hey, Tink, congrats on the EP!!!!!!! Ol' Jake is a cool dude. Small towns sound really nice to me right about now. My town was smallish -- 27,000 -- but we actually had a "downtown" with a movie theater, Woolworth, and everything! :D

I simply *adore* chickens. They're such soulful, loving animals. Their eyes, the way they look at you with so much love. I miss Harriet. We should never have let her nap in the driveway. I want another chicken.
Lezlie, that Sugar Cube is a grand fellow indeed!! :D

Sirenita, my folks have chickens, they cool!! :D

You got an EP!!!!

And you did it the "Good Old American Way" too......

You waited,

And waited,

And waited,

And waited,

And waited,

And waited,

And waited,

And waited,



Someone clued you in and you bribed someone just like we real writers do!!!


~nodding~ If you give some cocaine, you gets an EP!! :D