We all know what this week is! It isn’t hard to find good when you’re staring in the face of the 4th of July weekend! It’s one of those weekends where you instantly think water, drinks, sun, grilling, and friends. Maybe not necessarily in that order!
As Independence Day approaches, I can’t help but appreciate the people who go the extra mile. Like these people that decided to take their mailbox décor up a notch! LOVE it!
Of course, I also love the banners on the decks and the red, white, and blue Adirondack chairs and the tinsel ropes! I love people who go above and beyond for a holiday! (I’m not one of them currently! Lol, but maybe again someday!)
But let’s talk what I’m even more excited about: the town festivities. Here’s the deal. City people always ask why you live in a small town. I think 4th of July is the epitome of why one lives in a small town. There’s a parade. There’s free food for breakfast and for supper. There’s fun activities going on, sponsored by tons of different people that love our town enough to volunteer their time! There’s somebody selling sweet corn on the side of the road. There’s grills and parties and family gatherings. There’s fireworks and lawn chairs and people sharing sun tan lotion and bug spray and pools and slip and slides and tubing on the river or at the quarry. I don’t know how you can’t be happy when all that is in your grasp.
And truth be told, I’m hoping to see a few people this 4th of July. We moved home and everybody works a lot. We have become a society of workers and ball game watchers. Those sure aren’t bad qualities, but I love it when we all get a day off (hopefully) to talk to each other and catch up. Like I’ve always said, I’ll never pass up a holiday!
So get your wieners out! Put ‘em on the grill. Slather on the sun tan lotion. Fire up the sprinkler. Grab a beverage and a koozie and check out the schedule. If not in my town, find one nearby. And then blab about how much fun it was on Facebook! Put the all “in” in INdependence Day!
Got a schedule for your home town you’d like to share? Let’s see it! Got a good 4th of July party story? Let’s hear it! Thinking you might be here to celebrate with me Oakland? Let me know!
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…
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.