Small town life in a big world


Regardless what some may say, I believe small town America offers many advantages. I also believe the same can be said for rural America. I’m a true believer bigger is not always better.

Today’s focus is on the part of small town America  I call home.

I grew up on a farm in southern Montgomery County and have fond memories of riding my bicycle. Everyone waved as they passed by me. They knew who I was and who I belonged to; just as I did them. Today, we don’t always know our neighbors, at least not by name.

Our world today is a very fast place, much different from the one I grew up in, and I’m sure many of you can relate as well. We’ve all seen the changes, even if they did sort of sneak up on us.

I’m guessing many of you will agree there are advantages to knowing our neighbors, and I mean this literally. For example, it’s beneficial for the safety of our homes and children when neighbors look out for one another. It’s helpful if neighbors can spot a stranger on the street, especially if one is lurking near our home. Our children need to know where to turn for help in an emergency and the difference between a friendly neighbor and a stranger. A concerned community helps create a sense of well being and safety for all.

With the hectic lifestyle most of us lead, getting to know our neighbors may not seem quite so simple. With our various work schedules, the kids extra-curricular schedules, and the basic necessary errands which keep our households functioning, it sometimes seems like we spend less and less time at home.

In closing, lets’ take a moment and look around our neighborhoods. Exactly who are our neighbors? What better time to find out than now? With the holiday season in full swing, what a great time to reach out, say hello, and welcome new-comers to the neighborhood.

It seems as though its become far too easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget about such simple things as a kind word or gesture. Realistically speaking, there’s no reason most of us cannot take it upon ourselves to go a few extra steps and show a little kindness to those around us. I think kindness has the potential to be just as contagious as indifference, rudeness, and self-absorption.

Even if we don’t become best friends with our neighbors, it becomes a little easier to identify a neighbor from a passerby when we know who lives in our neighborhood.

“All will concede that in order to have good neighbors, we must also be good neighbors. That applies in every field of human endeavor.” — Harry S. Truman


Gloria Wall’s column appears Fridays in the Journal Review. She can be reached by email at


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