I was recently in San Francisco and a lady started to tell me about gossip in her small town, but said I probably wouldn't understand! It almost offended me, because I thought, "Doesn't she know? I grew up in small town USA and still feel small town to the core!" Truth is, we grow up, move away, experience new things, and sometimes people would never know where or how we started this journey here on earth. In the celebration of remembering where I came from, I'm going to share some of my favorite small town memories, just for nostalgia's sake.
> Back Where I Come From, Where I'll Be Where It's Said and Done (Yep, I danced with my brother to this song on my wedding day) !
Drives, not Sunday drives, but nightly drives for the heck of it. My mom and dad would load us kids up in his truck and we’d all get overly anxious when we spotted deer eyes shining in the headlights. No, we weren’t doing anything illegal (or were we?). Just out looking at the huge bucks!
More Drives. I definitely used to drive to driver’s ed classes. Then, when I officially got my license, I’d just roll down my windows, turn on some Alabama, and drive a backroad.
Fishing! Going to Paylakes with my grandparents, setting trotlines with my dad, or heading to the neighbors pond with my brothers.
Secretly crushing on the Amish Boys. Seriously, don’t give me crap! There was just something about such a hard working man, tan skin, and veins in their forearms. This is the only reason I tagged along to auctions, to watch those boys load up trucks.
Winning your baseball game, heading to the nearest dairy shed for a twist cone, and wearing that ice cream proudly on your face while chasing boys in the parking lot.
Oh...and that time Jake went off to military school and my brother and his friends played “I miss my friend” by Darryl Worley, walked up and down our long driveway, and CRIED. Yep, that happened! Don’t deny it Anthony, Nate, Shaun, and Matt…
Speaking of my brother, when kids play with guns at an early age, someone’s gonna get shot, right in the achilles (BB Gun).
Let’s move onto bonfires. The best memories were made when a fire was started down by the creek, the boys backed up their F-150s to the fire, let down their tailgates, turned up Hank Williams Jr., and we just hung out...without cellphones if I remember correctly. I guess we actually had something to talk about or some liquid courage?
Motocross. Just something about all that dust giving you a nice tan for the day.
Kenny Freakin Chesney concerts. You’d have to drive over an hour just to get to a big enough city to where he is playing, but it’s the time of your life. Jean shorts, plain tees, all your friends in a circle, hangin on a bank, while your favorite artist played, LIVE! Oddly, this is the first time you see some of your classmates in a straw cowboy hat and boots.
Awww yeah, county fairs when you meet your summer romances from other schools in the midst of lovely cow manure.
Finding a deep water hole in the creek and jumping off a bridge on a hot summer day. In our case, we jumped from buses. Yes, oddly, there were wrecked buses all along our creek banks.
Going to the local cafe just to grab a sweet tea and chat with people because you’re bored.
Older brother jealously over younger brother getting a bigger buck that year.
Emergency room visits when your baby brother tags along for some night fishing and tries to prevent the lantern from falling over...by catching it with his hands.
Ohhh and late night lighting bug catching with your neighbor friends.
MUSHROOM hunting...ahhh yes! This isn’t something that happens everywhere, but if you’re from Ohio you know when the season starts and how to fry up an amazing batch of shrooms. Mouth. watering. now! Seriously, we'll hunt anything.
Porch-sitting with a glass of lemonade or tea! Yes, this is an actual event to watch traffic pass by on a county line road as the crickets give you a little background music. (one of my favorite things to do)
"Laying out" a.k.a sunbathing, because hey, there are no neighbors around and what else is there to do? (I regret this due to wrinkles at 30, but who thinks of 30 when you're 16).
Everyone knows your business and you know theirs. Maybe it's the truth, maybe it's not, but it's always more fun to assume it is.
Witnessing the Sunday morning preacher turn into a new, more youthful, and energetic man as he was stomping his feet and praising God - knowing deep in your heart that there had to be more to life than what you were living.
Saving the best for last, getting up early to join my dad for his morning hunt, just to fall asleep on his shoulder once we leaned up against a tree. He'd gently wake me before he took a shot and then, Hello backstraps for dinner!!! He'd always say "we" got a deer today!