My Chicago Writing Marathon Day 1 #NOWM #SOL

Well, I was born in a small town,
And I can breathe in a small town,
Gonna die in this small town,
And that’s prob’ly where they’ll bury me.
–John Mellencamp

Well, I wasn’t really born in a small town. Actually a suburb of the 50th largest city in the US, and I was raised in a suburb of the 10th largest city. I had NEVER seen a Walmart store until I went college in a small town. 17,000 townies and 6,000 students–although it may have been 11,000 townies and 6,000 students. And I married a man from a small town, about 9,000.

But we moved to small cities–the capital of Illinois and the capital of Kansas. Not really the hustle and bustle of a large city, but both had a healthy selection of cultural events and restaurants. Then we moved again. To a small town.

The census sign says 21,000 folks. But in town, we consider it 11,000 townies and 10,000 college students. A different college town from 20 years earlier, but similar in so many years.

And as a teacher, after 12 years in this small town high school, I know so many people, but I do feel like I can breathe in this small town.

So imagine my surprise when I enjoyed running in the big city today! I am in the 3rd largest city; I have visited Chicago before but with family and for school trips. This is my first solo trip! So after my morning/afternoon meetings, I relaxed and then decided to go running on the famous (?) Lake Front Trail that runs between Lake Shore Drive and Lake Michigan. I was concerned about car and truck fumes. No one said, “Hello,” when we passed. And I was both annoyed by the walkers who couldn’t get out of my way and worried that I would be wiped out by a speedy cyclist. Swimmers? There are people who choose to swim along the Lake Front Trail in Lake Michigan AND lifeguards are present? Too much.

And my run was GREAT!! I ran better than I normally do; I didn’t want to be the runner passed by everyone else. I didn’t choke on any exhaust fumes. No one said, “Hi,” but no said anything mean either. No one looked at me as though it was obvious that I am an out-of-towner. Although I will never swim in Lake Michigan.

I may die in that small town, but I have found that I am not too much of a “hayseed” (Mellencamp’s word) to visit the big town and like it.

Lake Front Trail Run

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6 responses to “My Chicago Writing Marathon Day 1 #NOWM #SOL

  1. 🙂 fun! I grew up in a small town and moved to a smaller one 🙂 but I do enjoy trips to a city here or there! I liked that you used a “Small town” song as inspiration for this.

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  2. Well I didn’t see you in person but hello from Chicago. Sometimes we are too zoned into ourselves here. 🙂

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  3. That sounds like a really fun run! I like the way you really highlighted the difference between small town and city by noticing the fact that people didn’t say hi.

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  4. What a contrast! I’m a big town girl – but you made small towns sound do-able.

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  5. I’ve always lived in a small town…some smaller than others. When I visit a big city I always wonder if I’d like living in one. It sounds kind of exciting, but I may miss the connections from living in a small town where everyone knows everyone.

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  6. Your writing of this piece is just wonderful. You really make your small town self and your big city self come to life here! I’ve never really lived in a small place where you bumped into people you know everyday. In suburban sprawl, we see no one during the long winter!

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