I love to travel more than almost anything. I love trying new foods and exploring new places with my favorite travel partners, my hubby and kids. Even still, there’s nothing like living in a smallish town.
It’s true that the city is exciting and we love going to concerts in Minneapolis or to the Orpheum for stage productions. St. Paul restaurants rarely disappoint and if the borders of a small town ever feel confining, a flight out is just beyond the metro.
But if you are looking for a place that will always accept you, support you and lift you up, a smallish town is what you need. A place where you know the local bookstore owner by first name and the local youth librarian usually knows what your kids are reading. A town where you can pop into the coffee shop and they know what your regular is (except when you throw in the surprise twist of…maple fall flavoring)!
From the dazzling reflections in the eyes of our kids when the town lights up the trees along the streets and Santa pulls in with his reindeer, to the fundraising efforts supporting local students who are fighting cancer, small towns usually prevail. And let’s not forget our beloved teams who are welcomed home from state games on fire engines and much cheering. Go Cats!
Or when you throw it all on the line and write a book, baring your art for everyone to see (so scary), you will find support in so many places. Like Dave Woods and Rachel Helgeson, who wrote such flattering columns encouraging people to give the book a read. From local teachers to bookstore owners to the librarians who organize the book clubs, the list goes on. I’m grateful and humbled.
Which brings me to the point of just how supportive independent bookstores across the country have been. These small bookstores are owned by families. They put their budgets on the line and put faith in little people with big dreams who want to write a story for the sake of writing and educating.
They get it. They know what it’s like to have a vision and be up against Goliaths in the industry. They open their doors every morning to welcome the little authors and big ones alike, filling their shelves with exotic places and people for locals to experience the world by simply stepping across the street and into their place.
So while there might be more things to buy (but not better things by any means) and more places to go in larger cities, when life begins to beat you up a little and you need comfort, look for that round trip ticket back.
I know for a fact that this small town will wrap its arms around you in a big embrace as if you never left. And if you’re lucky, there will be a maple latte waiting at the local little coffee shop:)