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.
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.