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


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.


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


  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.


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


  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.


  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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