One of the blessings I thank God for almost everyday is for placing me in a very small town to live my life and raise my children and now my grandchildren. Anyone who lives in a very small, in fact tiny town like ours, would tell you there is nowhere else they would want to live. The old saying really is true – everyone knows everyone. Tiny Hometowns support their own. Benefit dinners are common when someone has fallen into a medical problem or hard time. Going to the grocery store is a social outing as you see someone to “catch up” with. Christmas parades, Halloween parades and other get-together’s may be very small, but they never fail to put a nostalgic tear in my eye.
One of the most enduring things tiny towns do is support their youth. The hometown newspapers are full of stories and pictures of things going on at the schools. Traveling to an important ballgame starts out with the bus driving down Main Street lined with cheering parents and business owners holding signs and a police escort out of town. One of my fondest memories is the year our high school basketball team won the State Championship. As we drove past our “City” Limits, headed to the game, someone had stapled a sign to an electric pole that said, “Last One Out of Town, Turn Out the Lights.” There was a lot of truth in that sign!
Small town schools have their own unique traditions. This year our high school started a new one, one which I think will stick since I heard it was very enthusiastically embraced by all who participated. The Seniors, all dressed up in caps and gowns after their Commencement practice, walked down the halls of the grade school to receive High-fives from all the young-un’s lining the halls.
After leaving the grade school and getting out of the caps and gowns it’s on to an age old, almost fifty year tradition that takes place on the Seniors last day of school. Calls have been put out to parents, grandparents and friends, trying to find an old wheat truck. This year it was ours they used since our granddaughter is one of the graduates. They all climb into the back, wearing old clothes and clutching their weapon of choice. I had a very important job, I was the “keeper of the phones.”
Slowly we head out and they are fully soaked before we even leave the parking lot because there are teachers or students hiding behind every car with a hose aimed their way. Oh the squeals coming from the bed of the truck! My husband calls the local fire department and lets them know we will soon be coming down Main Street.
After driving around town a few times it was 11:00, time to head to the locally owned Subway who’s owners generously fed the Seniors a free lunch.
I have to admit, this Grandma had to fight tears a time or two. That’s happened a lot in the past week as I once again contemplate the fast passage of time knowing my first grandchild is about to graduate from high school. But today’s tears were not about that, today’s tears were for the nostalgia I felt when I heard every car we met honk and saw all the people lined up on every street in town, hollering and wishing the Seniors the best of luck. I’m sure many were remembering when it was them in the back of that truck. Oh how I love tiny towns!