Small Town Sweet and Sour

Sunday marked our 12th anniversary in this small town. 
Lest you think, “Oh, I’m from a small town,” I want to you realize, this town is SMALL. In today’s demographics, a small town is thought of as having a populace of less than 20,000 people. I’m not talking about that kind of small town. I’m talking about REALLY SMALL.

One blinking yellow four-way light kind of small. One itty-bitty grocery store size small. Where the only places to buy clothes are the feed store and the hardware stores.

Lately, every book I’ve picked up has been set in a small town. My own WIP is set in a small town. (Hey, “write what you know,” isn’t that one of the cardinal rules?) And so, in the interest of continuing research, this week I’ll be posting my likes and dislikes about small-town living.

Feel free to add your own! I’m interested to know if small towns really are the same everywhere, or if it’s different in your part of the country, or your part of the world.

1. Everybody waves.

Honestly, this is a pro and a con. In small towns, people wave for three reasons.

A. They think they know you. Unfortunately, sometimes that means folks wave simply because there are three other people in town who drive the same vehicle, so you never know if they’re waving at you, or waving at someone else.

B. They feel obliged to wave. They don’t want to offend you, in case you happen to be related to someone important. News travels fast in these little towns, and if you don’t wave, your oversight might just be the topic of conversation at the next coffee klatch.

C. They’ve lived there so long they just wave at everybody. This method is generally recognized by the two- or three-finger wave in which one’s fingers are merely lifted from the steering wheel as two vehicles pass each other. This, of course, is the antithesis of the so-called “California wave” which consists of only one finger lifted high in the air.

How is “the wave” done where you live?

Downtown Meeker


7 thoughts on “Small Town Sweet and Sour

  1. Liz says:

    Ah, sometimes I miss the wave…regardless of the reason. Living in the big city we only get the "California wave". But I also miss the head nod. Sometimes accompanied with three finger wave. I think it heralds from the days of cowboy hats when a tip of the brim of your hat was a sign of respect. Whenever I slip back into your teeny mountain town I find myself falling back into the wave and nod habit.

  2. Georgiana Daniels says:

    LOL, not a lot of waving here! But, I did spend a summer in a small Alaska village, so I know what you mean about the wave 😀

  3. Andrea says:

    I live in a big city, now, but I grew up in a small town…so small we did not have a grocery store..just a blinking light, a post office, a gas station, and the fire department. Yes, everyone waved…it is a southern town. The ultra important thing about this snmall town was: You always helped your neighbor in a crisis…even if you did not like them. People looked out for one another, no matter what. I don't know if it is still this way…but it was when I was growing up.

  4. Susanne Dietze says:

    Never heard of the "California wave" LOL. We moved recently, and our old neighborhood was full of enthusiastic wavers. We knew everybody, they knew our kids, and there was a sense of security in that. Now that we've moved, we are among the anti-social. I determined that I was going to wave at neighbors whether they liked it or not! I'll let you know if it bears any fruit… So far I get a lot of confused expressions. 🙂

  5. Hulbert Lee says:

    Hi Niki, I just landed on your blog and I just wanted to say that I really like the creative design going on. I think it's really cool that you are sharing your experiences of living in a small town. Currently, I live in a small town called Los Alamitos that has I think less than 11,000 people in it. But it's nowhere that's small enough that everyone knows each other or waves to each other (although I wish it was though!). This was a refreshing post to read. Thanks Niki!

  6. Niki Turner says:

    Liz, that's funny. It must be like an accent. When you get around it, it comes back!

    Georgiana, no waving where you are now? Do you miss it?

    Andrea, that is SO true about everyone taking care of one another in times of crisis, and something I'm planning to post on!

    Susie, you sound like my husband. He likes to go to the mall and walk around smiling, just to see what kind of reactions he gets!

    Hulbert, thanks for the compliment! I just had a chance to look at your blog and I'm VERY impressed! I have to give all the creative design credit to Cutest Blogs on the Block. 11,000 people sounds HUGE to me right now. Glad you enjoyed the post! Come back anytime!

  7. Unknown says:

    I always liked that everyone waved in Meeker. I thought it was neighborly. Like a little club. Sometimes people wave within my subdivision. I just think it's nice.

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