# Small towns

I decided to come back to the small town where I grew up because there is a lot of work in the gold mines. I haven't been here in almost twenty years, but I've got several people who have offered me a place to stay while I'm here. I've also been offered trucks to drive even though I have a perfectly fine car, you never know when you might need four wheel drive. I just keep being blown away by how nice people are and how nice small towns are. We took out some four wheelers this weekend and one of them broke down. My buddy jumped on the phone and called someone up and half an hour later they were there putting the four wheeler in the back of their truck, no charge other than a beer at the bar. Every single person I drive past waves at me and one of my old friends has offered me a job while I wait to get on at the mine, even though he doesn't have a position open. He'll make up one just so that I have a job. Why did I ever leave this place?

turbo
Gold Member
Don't know, trib. Small towns are the best. We share so much stuff with the neighbors, it's ridiculous. I recently got a pretty nice Kubota tractor, and yesterday one neighbor offered me a grading-blade that will fit the 3-point hitch of the tractor perfectly. I stopped to say hi to another neighbor, and mentioned that my wife would like me to build some raised-bed garden spots. He took me into the woods and showed me an old dry-laid stone wall on his property made with nice blocky, ledge-y stones and told me to come whenever I want and take all the stones I want.

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
I love small towns. I lived in two the first several years of my life. Both had maybe a couple of hundred people. I enjoyed the quiet. Being so young, I didn't have a choice when my folks moved to the suburbs of a large city.

In the US, I lived in Houston, which had a population of 300,000, when I moved there, and about 3 million when I left. It was interesting, but I wouldn't move back to a large city. Houston's air is really bad, as is the air in most cities. LA has about the worst air in the US (I was amazed at how brown (rather than blue) the sky was - and that was apparently on a good day).

Some of the interesting small towns I've visited include Paducah, Ky and Flagstaff, Az. Flagstaff would be a good place to which to retire. Paducah would probably be a decent place too. Oak Ridge, TN is an interesting place, especially with its proximity to Knoxville.

My small town is Battle Mountain, NV. It looks exactly the same as it did 20 years ago except that there is now a McDonalds.

turbo
Gold Member
Some of the interesting small towns I've visited include Paducah, Ky and Flagstaff, Az. Flagstaff would be a good place to which to retire. Paducah would probably be a decent place too. Oak Ridge, TN is an interesting place, especially with its proximity to Knoxville.
Paducah has some nice folks, and when I was doing contract work for Westvaco at Wickliffe, I hooked up with some pretty laid-back musicians to hang out on weekends. They were folk-country with a rock bent, and I came in with a bluesy accent that fit pretty well. The singer was the great-nephew of a woman who compiled a collection of regional folk music back in the 30's.

Paducah has a few weak points - except for Skinhead's (long since closed) there wasn't a decent restaurant in town, the Ohio River always threatened in the spring and during heavy rains, and there was a Union Carbide uranium-enrichment plant to the west of town that locals seemed to distrust greatly. Given the number of locals who worked there, caution may have been justified (well-informed reservations), though the plant may well have been well-run and pretty darned safe. I just don't know.

For all the musicians I found there, I was surprised to find just one small so-so music store, and one pawn shop that had a few instruments. I found a badly-abused Alvarez flat-top with a neck bowed so strongly that it was unplayable. I bought it for $70, bought some simple hand tools and some raw bone, flattened the neck, dressed the frets, and installed a new hand-made nut and bridge that I made during my evenings in the hotel room. The next weekend, I played it with my new "jamming partners" and they all had to pass it around. I kept that guitar for years. A friend of mine still has it. I practically gave it to him when I decided to "pare down" the guitar collection from 30+ to 10 or so. turbo Gold Member My small town is Battle Mountain, NV. It looks exactly the same as it did 20 years ago except that there is now a McDonalds. I hope you don't get a WalMart. The mom-and-pop businesses will all go under, and the ones that move in will be rent-to-own stores and "dollar" stores. Yech! turbo Gold Member BTW, the grading blade that was offered (and I'll probably accept) is a well-built Ford accessory from maybe 40 years back. The blade can be completely reversed, to either push or pull it to grade materials, and it can be tilted vertically or horizontally end-to-end to grade slopes or move materials preferentially from one side to the other, and its angle of attack can be changed so you can preferentially cut or drag. These are manual adjustments that can be made in seconds by pulling pins, pivoting the blade, and re-inserting the pins. Old-school stuff, but it is drop-dead easy to use, too rugged to break, well-painted and protected, and can be controlled easily from the seat of my tractor using the hitch controls once I have set the manual preferences. That blade is practically like new. Where else but in a small town can you find stuff like this? That guy has a HUGE Ford tractor with a loader and a backhoe, but there may be times when he wants to use my smaller (? 2-ton!) tractor to do work around the finished, landscaped areas of his property and I will gladly let him borrow it or (preferably) run that tractor down there myself and do the work. Little towns are the best. I need to get Astro and some other PF back-to-the-land denizens to move up here, so we can form a hot-chili/high$\$vegetable/cascade hops/beer-making grains co-op. We can make all our money in the summer and kick back in the winter BBQ-ing spicy grilled shrimp, sipping micro-brews, and planning next summer's assault on the pocketbooks of the turistas.

Ouabache
Homework Helper
I decided to come back to the small town where I grew up because there is a lot of work in the gold mines.
That's great trib. I have to agree, small towns are friendlier places, at least to me.
I see you have a rodeo grounds on the east side. That sounds like a cool place to hang out when the show is in town. I can see why folks
like this place, especially during rough economic times. The http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/us/02nevada.html?_r=1" gave you a thumbs up.

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Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
I hope you don't get a WalMart. The mom-and-pop businesses will all go under, and the ones that move in will be rent-to-own stores and "dollar" stores. Yech!
According to the NYTimes article cited by Ouabache, the nearest Wal-Mart is about 50 miles away in Winnemucca.

JasonRox
Homework Helper
Gold Member
I thought about travelling for like 2-3 months and partying in small towns all over Canada and the United States, while visiting some big cities too of course.

The last time I was in a small town I was still too young to go to the bar and that was the only place to hang out and meet people. I also didn't have a car so I wasn't able to get anywhere to do anything and couldn't find a job because all of the ones in the town were taken.
That wasn't a fun time. :-/

G01
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Why did I ever leave this place?
If you never left, would you appreciate it as much as you do now?

I think everyone should live in as many different places as possible while they are young. This way, it's easier to know where you want to settle.

JasonRox
Homework Helper
Gold Member
If you never left, would you appreciate it as much as you do now?

I think everyone should live in as many different places as possible while they are young. This way, it's easier to know where you want to settle.
Exactly!

Everyone is so scared to leave home or the home city for some reason.

I grew up in small towns all across Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee. My experiences with the people who inhabit all the little niches I ended up in, were ubiquitously bad.

Sure almost everyone was pleasant and talkative. On the surface, and at first, these places always seemed nice. But buried underneath all the day to day neighbourly manners, was a festering intolerance of anything 'out of place'. Racism of many flavours, casual sadism, deep corruption, hatred of: youth, learning, questions, and especially any women who stood out of line, the use and widespread acceptance of violence at the drop of a hat, and a pervasive fear of change. I've lived in towns were ones peers were the grandsons of lynch mobs, and it showed.

Later in life, I had the opportunity to live in many big cities as well as a couple 'suburbias'. My experience in these population centres hasn't really been much better. However, the greater the mix of ethnicities, and the greater the pace of change, seems to some what stem the more distasteful qualities of my fellow primates. But of course, you don't really get things like organized crime and drug/gang violence in small towns.

The idea, and the allure, of a small town is great. However, I think given the right circumstances they can become ripe for despotism; breeding generations of hate and ignorance that gets a free pass from society at large. If tradition and intolerance rule the minds of the majority, rather than, perhaps, independence and intellectual honesty, the resultant society is not a pretty sight.

I don't mean to demean anyone's love of small towns, or my own latent appreciation. I am sure there are many places in the minds of PF'ers in which the norm is not what I have personally found it to be. And I guess they can't be all bad, seeing as I am a product of the small town environment.

I grew up in small towns all across Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee. My experiences with the people who inhabit all the little niches I ended up in, were ubiquitously bad....festering intolerance of anything 'out of place'. Racism of many flavours, casual sadism, deep corruption, hatred of: youth, learning, questions, and especially any women who stood out of line, the use and widespread acceptance of violence at the drop of a hat, and a pervasive fear of change. I've lived in towns were ones peers were the grandsons of lynch mobs, and it showed.
Well these attributes are all characteristically southern. You won't find much of that up in the northern states...like vermont, maine, upstate new york, michigan..

russ_watters
Mentor
You take the good with the bad everywhere, of course. My biggest issue with small towns is the lack of opportunities, in particular, education and jobs.

russ_watters
Mentor
Well these attributes are all characteristically southern. You won't find much of that up in the northern states...like vermont, maine, upstate new york, michigan..
The particulars, yes, but you can find intolerance anywhere.

Well these attributes are all characteristically southern. You won't find much of that up in the northern states...like vermont, maine, upstate new york, michigan..
I'm here in Alberta, Canada, and my experiences have been much the same as robertm's. I've lived and worked in a couple of small towns, and the bigotry, violence, ignorance, and fundamentalism. I think it's more prevalent in farming communities, where the level of education is lower.

russ_watters
Mentor
It is common in close-nit, homogenous communities, and size and education aren't necessarily a factor. You can find plenty of intolerance in certain college towns, for example.

I'm here in Alberta, Canada, and my experiences have been much the same as robertm's. I've lived and worked in a couple of small towns, and the bigotry, violence, ignorance, and fundamentalism. I think it's more prevalent in farming communities, where the level of education is lower.
Well, I was raised in a small town in vermont. Despite their being a lot of farmers, I never witnessed any of the forms of intolerance or hatred that robert mentioned. In my experiences, people tend to be pretty liberal and tolerant throughout new england.

Maybe it just varies from region to region, or even from town to town, and robertm and I have just had the misfortune of seeing the bad ones.

Well these attributes are all characteristically southern. You won't find much of that up in the northern states...like vermont, maine, upstate new york, michigan..
There are some areas in Oregon, which seems predominantly liberal, that are pretty bad. A friend of mine who graduated high school in Oregon in the late eighties told me about how the black kids that showed up at the graduation party were chased out and down the street by people with bats.

I just looked up Harmony Camifornia and apparently its going under. :-(
A town that small just can't survive well I guess.

russ_watters
Mentor
In my experiences, people tend to be pretty liberal and tolerant throughout new england.
"Liberal" and "tolerant" are not synonomous. When people get homogenous, they can become very intolerant of differences. Politics is one area where New England is very intolerant of people who are different.

GCT
Homework Helper
I decided to come back to the small town where I grew up because there is a lot of work in the gold mines. I haven't been here in almost twenty years, but I've got several people who have offered me a place to stay while I'm here. I've also been offered trucks to drive even though I have a perfectly fine car, you never know when you might need four wheel drive. I just keep being blown away by how nice people are and how nice small towns are. We took out some four wheelers this weekend and one of them broke down. My buddy jumped on the phone and called someone up and half an hour later they were there putting the four wheeler in the back of their truck, no charge other than a beer at the bar. Every single person I drive past waves at me and one of my old friends has offered me a job while I wait to get on at the mine, even though he doesn't have a position open. He'll make up one just so that I have a job. Why did I ever leave this place?
Small town folk have their exterior manners - better then city folk - however the culture can be stubbornly outlandish about certain matters which stems from deep seated beliefs . In addition to this they pry into matters that are considered personal purely for amusement and are critical of people who do not adopt the same notions as them. You probably went elsewhere because you were simply annoyed.

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
"Liberal" and "tolerant" are not synonomous. When people get homogenous, they can become very intolerant of differences. Politics is one area where New England is very intolerant of people who are different.
I had a cousin who lived in a small town in Mass. for 40 years [died a couple of years ago]. According to her, if your family didn't come over on the Mayflower, you will never be completely accepted.

When we first moved to a small town in Oregon, we were told point blank that since we were Californians, we weren't welcome. My sister-in-law, who was raised around here, even admitted that as soon as someone like a Californian left the room, everyone would talk about them - like we were lepers or something. Ironically, Tsu's family has been around here for more than century. The idiots in town just didn't know that.

I traveled extensively throughout the Southern States and have heard and seen what Robertm described - friendly on the surface but distinctly unfriendly just beneath the surface. I will never forget an Asian physician from Atlanta who gave me an earful about life in the South, on a long flight. According to him, Southern Hospitality is for tourists.

My mother grew up in a small town in Illinois and could hardly wait until she was 18 so she could get out of there. Everyone knew everyone else's business and had plenty to say about it. It was like living under a microscope. Life was gossip gossip gossip gossip.

Thornton Wilder's Our Town has been described as the definitive story of small-town life. While much of the story is dated, the truisms of human nature never change.

I grew up in the Los Angeles area and will take a small town any day of the week. No matter where you go, there is always some brand of bull**** to deal with. We never left the small town in Oregon. Compared to Los Angeles, this is paradise.

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