The Greatest Place On Earth

Posted: July 23, 2012 in Celebrations, Family, Friendship
Tags: , , , , ,

This past weekend was spent in my boyfriend’s hometown for their little small town festival. If you live in Iowa, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It seems like every small town has one and they all generally follow the same format. Friday night there’s a fireman’s dance and/or you go to the bar, Saturday there’s a parade and all sorts of activities in the park, and Saturday night everyone tries to go out again but is so worn out from the night before it usually ends up not being near as fun as the previous night.

The thing about these gatherings is that they’re like mini class reunions for all involved. For some of these people it’s the only time every year they can count on seeing the people they grew up with—the people they played sports with, the friends they got into trouble with, the neighbors who cheered them on, their friends’ parents who were just as invested in their lives as they were their own children’s.

On Friday night, we couldn’t take more than three steps without running into someone who wanted to talk to my boyfriend—and you know what? I was totally fine with that. I get the whole small town dynamic because I’m from one—so I get that when you come home and see people somewhat infrequently, people who are proud to say they know you really truly want to know how you are, where you are, and what you’ve been up to.

I don’t know that I fully agree with the saying that ‘old friends are the best friends.’ People come and go in our lives—it doesn’t matter if they’re old friends or not. I will say this though. There is something unbelievably comforting in going back to your hometown where nothing ever changes. It’s nice to know that even though you may only see some of those people once or twice a year, you can fall right back into step beside them like the last time you saw them was just two days ago.

In a world where things seem to be falling apart at an alarming pace, I think that these small town gatherings become even more important. It’s nice to have a place to go that doesn’t seem quite as affected as the rest of the world. It’s nice to have a place where faces may have gotten a little bit older, but they’re still the same. It’s nice to have a place where you know the guy that owns the grocery store. And the bar. And the local law firm.

Above all that though, it’s nice to have a place where you know so many people care about you. A place where the people who matter are always happy to see you. A place that seems untouched, or at least less so, by all that ails other places. My boyfriend’s town is that place, my hometown is that place, and I know that several people who will read this have that place. My hope is that by the time it’s all said and done, a whole lot more people will have found that place.

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