In a small town you drive by green stalks of corn waving in the breeze, cotton fields of snow, and fields of maze topped with a golden shock top as they grow under a blue sky that goes on forever and ever.
In a small town you take your time. You walk down the street and give a smile and a wave to everyone you pass, whether you know them or not. Sometimes you even stop in the middle of the street to say, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while!”
In a small town you give a shout out to the men folk passing the afternoon sitting on the porch, or pause to chat with the sweet lady cutting back her fading wildflowers growing along a white picket fence. You crash a house warming party and no one cares, they just welcome you on in.
In a small town you visit local shops housed in historic buildings made of stone and wood that have survived hundreds of years. You stop in just to say hi and see how the day is going and listen to the hopes and dreams for their business. You wonder how many hopes and dreams those old stone walls have heard.
In a small town there is a coffee shop that is a gathering place for all. You just pull up a seat with a cup of whatever you’re having and get in a conversation with whomever is sitting there next to you. A seamstress from Austin, a mama with her children in tow, a sweet retired school teacher there to tutor a precious student, a woman from West Virginia whose husband wrote Bluegrass songs for famous musicians, an Army vet who tells you a little bit about how the outside world really is, and the town historian who goes deep into every detail of his town. Everyone comes together like a family in that little coffee shop and enjoys each others’ company. Then one day you find yourself sitting next to the old rancher in his cowboy hat, faded denim, and dusty cowboy boots. You can’t help but notice his striking pale blue eyes inside a face that’s tanned and wrinkled, and his rough hands from years of hard work as he talks about the way things are changing in his small town. How the land is disappearing and progress is moving in.
In a small town you start noticing giant FOR SALE signs next to the turned over fields where once there grew corn, cotton, and maze. Subdivisions and big box stores are being built. The streets are getting busier, people aren’t slowing down as much and you see progress moving in….then you start to think how things used to be and how fast times are changing.
In America our small towns are disappearing, and with them what America once was. These towns that are such a part of us are becoming too broke to fix, or progress gobbles them up. Our history is being erased, our innocence is being erased, kindness towards each other is being erased, all the things small town America embraces is vanishing. There has to be a balance between improving something and allowing progress to take a strong hold on everything, including us as a people. Maybe someday before it’s too late we will find that balance. I surely hope so.
Thank you to the small town of Castroville, Texas for taking me in as one of their own for the past three Summers. Thank you for the time I was able to slow down and enjoy a small town once again. I will carry you with me always and I hope y’all find the balance.
Me with Mr. Albert King of Castroville, TX. He’s not the rancher I mentioned above. Mr. Albert was my supplier of fresh vegetables and plenty of wit.