I used to live in a town so small that Daddy was once reprimanded by one of the elders at church for mowing the yard on Sunday (not kidding). Later, we moved to an even smaller town — this one was so small that we had to go to another town for groceries. Of course, even the next town over was still small enough that the librarian knew all about our trip to England, and Pam and Trish at Kroger’s would ask about us, and the auctioneers would ask how my mother was when I went to estate auctions.
And then I moved to Nashville.
For a while, I still had a little “small town” — Lipscomb University. The postmaster went to church with us. I worked for my academic advisor. The ladies at the switchboard knew me and would ask about my latest sewing projects.
And then I graduated.
And I realized that, for this small-town girl to survive with any level of sanity, I had to make pieces of Nashville into a small town for me.
So I’ve tried.
Megan the cashier at Kroger told me last Sunday that she likes my new hat. Norm and Greg and Roman (the poodle) at the flea market give me a hug when they see me (well, Roman doesn’t, but whatever. He’s a poodle and doesn’t do hugs). Our humongous church has a great little group of “young-married” girls that meet for a craft night every other Tuesday. And I regularly freak out my boss by all my random connections to people who shop at the antique store where I work. “Oh, you’re a member of the church of Christ? In Georgia? Do you know my Aunt Julia and Uncle Don?” (Yes, she did.) “Oh, you’re a McDonald from Smith County? Well, we’re cousins, then.” (We were, I’m not kidding.) “Oh? Your husband worked at Lipscomb? Your son knows my brother. Tell him we said hi.” (And, as my mother informed me later, apparently we’re distantly related to the woman’s husband as well.)
So, whenever I think that I just can’t TAKE it anymore, I just try to remember that big cities can be tricked into being small towns sometimes too. And, for a little while, Nashville doesn’t seem quite so big.