You know you’re from a small town when…


…there’s still a sign that says Miss America 1974 grew up here!

(Hancock, Rebecca Ann King)


… they call you by name at the Dairy Queen and Casey’s.


… the whole town shuts down for a funeral or state basketball.


… people can still tell you the names of every starter on the last state basketball team… which was 25 years ago. (Carley, McCowen, Thompson, Zuch, and Stogdill)


… they discuss all your high school games at the local Co-op…and you’re related to somebody who works at the Co-op. (Mark Martens)


And you know you’re from a small town when…

you make sure the AM radio station is coming in on your radio so you can “listen” to the “big” game.


And you know what?  Riverside, my home town team made it to state this week which, quite frankly, is a huge ass deal in our world.  So just like every other person who graduated from Oakland High School (or the consolidated Riverside High School), I will be listening to the big game.  And you know the only people who won’t be listening to the big game at state?  The people who are actually there, sitting in the stands, screaming their lungs out, cheering for the home town team.  Because that’s how it works.


We’ve all heard the “You know you’re from a small town when…” jokes and we laugh because well, the obvious reason is, they’re true!  But really, it’s because we know it’s something to be envied.  Not everybody gets the luxury of growing up the way we did.


Small towns are just funny.  The very things you hate about living in a small town are the very things you love about it:  Everybody knows your business.  Sure, it sucks when they gossip about your car wreck, but it’s really nice when they realize that’s not your car loading out furniture when they drive by your house.  And there’s nothing better than when your kid makes the town proud by not only being a great kid, but being a basketball star, too.


And when people talk about all the scary stuff that happens in the world today, you don’t hear about a lot of small town shootings.  Why?  When you grow up in a hamlet that has less people in it than an Eric Church concert, there’s a sense of place.  We all know where we came from.  We can all say, “V-I-C-T-O-R-Y that’s our Alumni Battle-cry!”  Yeah, that’s a cheer I learned over 30 years ago.  I still know it.  And I guarantee you that all of the people from my home town just laughed as they remembered it, too.


See, here’s the deal.  This world is sometimes hard to understand, and it’s not an easy road, but no matter where you go, your small town goes with you.  If I should ever win the lottery, become a successful writer, or get discovered by the RFD-TV station, I promise you I won’t tell them I live in Bellevue.  I’ll tell them I’m from Oakland, Iowa.  Because at the end of the day, you should never forget where you came from, and you damn well better give credit where credit is due.  The best people I know came from a little town in the middle of nowhere because that’s where they learned work ethic, community pride, and the power of love thy neighbor.


So without being any more sappy, the bottom line is that once you’re a yellowjacket, you’re always a yellowjacket, or a bulldog, as the case may be.  You can’t change it.


And honestly, you don’t want to…


Go Bulldogs!



P.S. – You know you’re from a small town when…you get this message passed onto you from your sister’s husband’s neighbor’s cousin who’s related to the writer.