August 5, 2020

There is just something about being from a small town.
One main street, one high school, one Tim Hortons and one taxi may seem like a terrible place to grow up to a lot of people. Except people that have done just that.
Having been raised in the metropolis that is Mount Forest, where the population of 5,000 knows everything about you, and you have a family tree planted somewhere along Highway 6, is more beneficial than an outsider may believe.
“You don’t have a Wal-Mart?” or “Wait, there were only 800 students in your entire high school?” are just a few of the factors people take into account before deciding that people from small towns lead an extremely sheltered life.
But when you dig a little deeper, there is plenty to be envious about.
There is a sense of home wherever you are in most small towns. And while many who live in larger cities get a sense of this while out and about in their own neighbourhood, imagine that feeling in an entire community.
It is almost impossible to walk down the street without offering a dozen “hellos” or “how are yahs.” And it might not be because you know them (although that’s usually the case), people are just friendlier in a small town.
In my younger days we didn’t have snow days. We had snow weeks. When 99 per cent of the school’s demographic arrives by a bus that has to travel every side and country road within a 30-kilometre radius, not to mention a highway that is closed most of the winter, school gets cancelled a lot.
Say you forgot something in the local bakery, or left your coat behind while shopping. Although personal retrieval and delivery isn’t in most businesses’ job description, I guarantee it will get back to you within the day. Or you’ll have a message waiting on your answering machine when you get home.
And the best way to spend your time out of school wasn’t at the movies or at some nightclub. Summer nights were spent in fields drinking beer, on long drives down dirt roads, enjoying impromptu swims in ponds and spending late nights with friends at the town’s dive of a bar.
Kelly Cutrone, a best-selling author and founder of marketing firm People’s Revolution, said “half your life is spent trying to get out of a small town and the other half trying to get back to one.”
The best part is being able to look back on it. Whether you’re remembering from your penthouse apartment in Toronto, or your school campus in Australia, your memories will always be with you.
Because the best thing about living in a small town is that it will always be there when you come home.