So if I had to wage a guess, I’d have to say that the Dreamland Theater might have been the first place many a Riverside/Carson/Oakland/Griswold/Macedonia kid first held hands (or something more significant, but we will refrain from talking about that)! I have to say that I remember a couple of friends begging their moms to take us to Carson to see a movie, and I can pretty much assure you it was never because we were dying to see the movie that was playing. That was totally secondary! In fact, I’m pretty sure there are generations that could say the same thing!
It’s a lot easier to beg your mom to drop you off 6 miles away than it is to convince her she needs to head to Omaha and entertain herself somewhere other than where you are! Lol.
So when looking for the good around me, it doesn’t take long to see the Dreamland Theater as a prime example. First of all, a movie theater in a small town is always rockstar! There’s never enough to do in a small town! Plus, they actually get the good movies in a timely fashion. (Go ahead and keep in mind that I have a toddler and don’t get out much!) But I love that it is even an option. I also love that on any given Saturday night, you can find families headed to the Main Street for what Chevy Chase would call good-old-fashioned-family-fun and while there, you can chat with your neighbors or spy on the neighbor’s kid for them! I kinda think that’s awesome!
And as a mom of a toddler, I’m excited that I don’t have to pay a fortune to take my kid to an animated movie that she might not sit through!
If that wasn’t impressive enough, I happen to know there are a whole lot of people who donate money and time to help keep the theater running. Probably they wonder why they bother at times because the headaches are greater than the rewards in most cases, but from where I sit, I couldn’t be more thankful to drive by and see the lights on. I’m guessing that I’m not alone in my thinking.
Sure, you could just hop on Netflix, but there’s something special about a night out, a bag of popcorn with lots of butter, and a big screen. So mad props, Carson! Way to get it done right!
Got a story about a trip to the Dreamland Theater or some other small town movies? Let’s hear it. Got something else to say? Go ahead. Find that good, people. It’s here for the taking.
As most of you know, I’m an Iowa girl and a hometown girl and an Oakland girl. I’ve never pleaded to be anything but. We moved home for lots of reasons, but it all comes down to the fact that this is where we belong.
With that being said, I am here and advocating for my home. One of my favorite things about Iowans is that they live the Tim McGraw Humble and Kind song to a tee. The unfortunate part about that is that people forget the amazing, wonderful assets around them and start to take them for granted.
We currently live in a world of negativity. I can be more negative than most, but I know it is my fatal flaw, and I do my best to correct it each and every day. But there are far more people out there looking at the bad and focusing on it, and I hate that for everyone. I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by a lot of people who believe in good, do good, fight for the good, and find the good. I want to be one of those people, too. So I am bringing you the good. On a platter even.
This is the start of my Find the Good series. If you like it, go ahead and sign up to follow my blog over there on the right hand side, and I’ll send you a weekly reminder of what’s good around here. Or if you have suggestions, feel free to email me. Got a lot of great ideas right now, but who doesn’t want more?
This picture is why I love a small town. In the wake of an untimely and horrible death of a well-known man, people lined up to pay their respects. The lines were out into the street. Main Street was full of cars and trucks. Over a thousand people came to pay their tributes. That, my friends, is why you live here. Nothing can replace the feeling of knowing you belong and are appreciated. A well-attended funeral is a sign of a well-lived life…
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.