The homelike atmosphere of small towns

Published 11:21 pm Sunday, July 14, 2013

As you travel around this great country, you can see a lot of different places, different people and many different opportunities. The big cities are exciting, offer a lot of pleasurable sights, things to see and do, and a multitude of places to shop and eat. Everyone likes to visit bigger cities, but we all also like to come back to the homelike atmosphere of the small towns. However, as places grow and the population increases, personal friendships and fellowships shrink. When this happens, a lack of interaction among the citizens becomes very noticeable to visitors.

Conversely, the first thing noticeable in small towns and settlements is the slower lifestyle and the true friendships among the inhabitants. Everyone has time to stop and talk, asking about the children and the rest of the family. Everyone knows everyone, where they live, where they work, and where they go to church.

One small town in Michigan likes to show off the newest house in town, a house that’s more than 100 years old and built for the minister of their newest church. They are proud of their town and the stability they all have there. Another small town to remember is Sikeston, Mo., home of the original “Throwed Roll Restaurant.” Here you are treated to samples of different foods while waiting for your order, all the while the manager will walk around tossing hot rolls to the patrons. If you are there an hour or two before closing, they will insist you have a slice of pie or cake, gratis. Doesn’t happen in larger places.

Some of the residents in small towns in Colorado are snowed in for a month or two at a time, unable to leave. They still open their shops and eating places and see each other every day. One little Colorado town has the world’s only fire station dug out of the side of the mountain. Heat is only used about two hours a day to control the humidity, saving several thousand dollars a year on heating oil. Behind the fire station is a museum, also dug out about 300 feet into the base of the mountain.

Stories of many famous gunfighters who frequented the area are still popular and are kept alive for the visitors. The notorious miner turned cannibal is buried there, and there’s a yearly Al Packer Day, featuring parades, music, dancing, food of all sorts. There’s even a great-grandson with the same name and a striking resemblance to the original who leads the parade.

Pennsylvania has many things to see, including chocolate factories and historical displays, but the main attraction for many are the Amish villages, with large farms and horse drawn buggies that have the right of way over automobiles. Theirs is a lifestyle of peace — live and let live. Here you see an interesting way of farming that has remained the same for decades.

Going through South Dakota you will see signs advertising the Wall Drug Store for 100 miles or more. When you get there, you find that it is actually many kinds of stores — hardware, general merchandise, drug — and there’s even a donkey the kids can ride. A little further up the road are the Black Hills and Crazy Horse Mountain, with a carving under way of Crazy Horse himself. Then you come to Mount Rushmore with carvings of four presidents.

Of all the small towns and villages, the one that would receive my top prize is Red Bay, Ala. In the late 19th century it was a hunting and fishing retreat for two Indian tribes living in the vicinity. The mountainous hills and valleys were, and still are, home to fishing lakes and many game animals, especially white-tailed deer. The chief would bring in a team of hunters and fishermen a couple of times a year to stock up on the fish and deer.

Our country has a lot of interesting places. Remember to thank the good Lord for His provisions and blessings.