Monday, August 29, 2011

Breaking news.....

Yes, we had breaking news in the booming metropolis this morning.  It caused quite a stir amongst the populace. This poor old man must have been distracted and drove into our front ditch.  It was quite a big deal.  All high school traffic had to be directed around it.  I'm surprised that the ditches along the way didn't get filled with more drivers as the teens texted the news after they passed the site.
     Notice the little heads at the bottom of the picture. This was a major event at our house.  Just having an ambulance drive by causes the kids to run to the door, so having a policeman and tow truck in the front yard was cause for great excitement.  We took a break from school just for this special edition of Social Studies. 
     It was also a big deal in the community.  I'm sure it is the topic of discussion over coffee at the local cafe and among the beauties at the salon. They are probably all talking about who it was and which officer was there and who drove the tow truck. I know it will be a front page article in the paper this week.  I saw the photographer taking many pictures for her "scoop".  I'm anxious to see what the headline will be.  I'm sure the story will die out before the week is over, but for now, we have news!  But, you'll get that in a small town.....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Siren

     Every small town has it's siren.  You know, that big horn on top of a pole that calls the firemen to the station when there is an emergency.  At least that's what we thought the purpose of the siren was....
     In our small town, the siren rings three times everyday.  I'm not sure how that tradition got started. Maybe when they got a new one they liked using it, and , because there weren't many emergencies, they decided to ring it every day.  Or maybe the history goes back further to the dinner bell, calling men from the fields for meal times. 
     Whatever the history, we hear that wonderful siren three times a day.  The first siren sounds at 7 a.m., a wake-up call to those who may be late for work.  I dreaded that siren when my kids were babies and I was trying to sleep in.  They would always wake up with that bell.  The second one sounds at noon.  Just a pleasant reminder that it is lunch time.  The kids know that we should be eating a meal when they hear that. The last siren goes off at 6 p.m., another supposed meal time.  It makes me wonder if they chose to ring the siren to remind people that they need to eat?  I guess, as my husband does, men get busy and forget about chow time.  They needed reminded to stop, take a break and get some nourishment.
     Whenever we have out of town guests, they always think there is some kind of emergency or something when they hear it.  We always have to explain the 7,12,6 schedule to them.  I have often wondered how I would know if there was a tornado during one of those hours.  I have gone to the basement on occasion thinking it was an emergency.
     I am very glad that I do not live near the siren.  I live about 5 blocks away from it, but I have noticed that there are a few houses right underneath of that pole.  Instead of "across the tracks", the poorer section of town is "under the siren".
     I have also learned not to depend on the siren.  You gradually get used to the sound and still need to set an alarm to get up in the morning.  If you don't set the alarm, you won't hear the siren.  Trust me, I've done it before and been late for an important appointment.  Not a real good excuse to your boss: "I didn't hear the siren."  Also, in the spring and fall when we change the clocks, the guy in charge of changing the clock on the siren is usually about two weeks late..........but you'll get that in a small town.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Wave

    I had never seen "the wave" until I moved to small town Nebraska.  I distinctly remember the first few miles before we reached the town (population 250) in which we were to be living.  It seemed odd to my family and I that each in vehicle we met on the road, the driver would wave at us.  We wondered about the first few people to do it: "Who was that, Dad? Do they know us?"  Being from the east, where friendliness in strangers is hard to come by, we were rather intrigued.  The closer we got to town, the more drivers waved.
     "The wave" is a little hard to describe if you have never seen it before.  It is never a full hand sticking up above the dashboard waving back and forth like a little child would do. Nor would it ever be a Miss America style "proper" wave or a little granny wave. It is more like a nod with your hand. Sometimes it will just be an index finger lifted as you pass, or a slight raising of all four fingers. Being from the east, we were used to seeing fingers from drivers, only in a different light.  To get the proper wave position, you need to have your hand draped over the top of the steering wheel at just the right position so that it can be seen by every other driver on the road. Occasionally, the driver might have his hand across the back of the seat beside him and he will slightly raise it in acknowledgement.  Some of the more daring may just lift their chin, instead of using their hand at all.  On a hot day, the hand may be hanging out the window or resting on top of the roof of the vehicle.
     We came to learn that "the wave" was merely a friendly gesture.  Perhaps a welcome to someone you didn't know or a "hello" to another neighbor or resident of your town.  The rule was that you always wave, to everyone on the road.  Whether friend or enemy, each person deserved an acknowledging.  We found out in time that "the wave" is contagious.  Soon after we arrived there, our dad caught the bug and started waving to everyone as well.
     As young teens, "the wave" was a rite of passage that came with getting your driver's license.  You never waved from the passenger seat.  Only the driver was allowed to wave.  We would sit in the driver's seat, drape our arm over the top of the steering wheel and dream of the day when the wave could be ours.  They taught you the proper hand position in driver's ed.  No more of this "hands at 10 and 2" stuff, one hand was placed at "12" and your other hand held the bottom of the wheel until you were more confident in driving with one hand.
     I guess that comes with the home pride of a small town area.  If you live in the same county, there is this pride, this sense of self-worth, knowing that you are one of the chosen few to live in that area and you pledge it with raised hand.  No blank stare as you drive down the road. Driving becomes part of the social network in a small town.  You see the other person and know that they, too, share the home pride of that area.
     I moved away from the small town for a few years.  "The wave" was a habit that was hard to overcome.  There were some big city people that were waved at, until the strange stares stopped me.  I was fortunate enough to marry a small town guy, and so now I get to see the wave all the time and return it with a smile.  But, you'll get that in a small town...

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Homecoming Sheriff

     I collect typos from our local newspaper.  It is a bad habit of mine to critique all of the articles in the paper.  I have found many hilarious mistakes ( that I should have sent to Jay Leno for his "Small Town News").  I think my favorite of all times was back in 2005.  The local high school had just had their homecoming game and the big news of the week was who won the title of homecoming queen. If you lived in a small town, you would understand the importance of the homecoming game. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, goes to the game, or listens to it on the radio.  Every storefront and window is covered with signs saying "Go Indians", or "We are pulling for you guys".  Every player's number is painted to a red wooden football and attached to various electric poles throughout the town.  If you are privileged to have a player in your home, you stick a large sign in your front yard with his number on it to show your support. As the opposing team drives into town, they see signs addressed to them, touting the strength of the local team and how badly they will lose.  The day of the game, there is not a person who is not wearing the team color, and often has hair that color, too!!  So, the homecoming queen is always a big deal, too. It is quite a competition between the local beauties, and the local gossips are chattering about who will win the title.

So, the on the front page of the paper, the next week, in large print, they announced :
"Sheriff Crowned Homecoming Queen"
     I laughed for days about that one!  Of course, the young lady's name was Tiffany Sheriff.  Obviously, the local sheriff wasn't wearing the crown that year, but they surely could have found another way to title that, right? Just one of the many things that make a small town lovable!  The paper people wanted to shout the headline!  And so they did.  But, you'll get that in a small town...........

Oh beautiful for little towns......

I have lived in small town America all of my life.  This blog is a collection of funny happenings and incidents that help to define small town living--for all you big city folks who don't even know your neighbor, or even have a front porch!  I love the friendliness and the silly no-care attitude that we rural people possess! Enjoy!