I was a big fan of the Andy Griffith show. I remember an episode where a gentleman from back East began subscribing to the Mayberry newspaper. He became very familiar with many people of the town, and their lives through the newspaper and decided to move to Mayberry because it was the perfect place to live he thought.
Most of us would move if we didn’t enjoy where we live. Like all of us, I have followers from all over the world. I love talking to many of you from distant foreign places. Oh how different our lives must be.
I call Collinsville, Oklahoma my hometown, even though I don’t live there. It is the closest town that is about 8 miles from the farm. This is where I head every morning to one of the three places in town where we gather for coffee. I blogged of it a few weeks ago. Based upon the last census less than six thousand people live in Collinsville. It has one Main Street which has virtually all of the towns businesses.
Wherever we live it seems we take things for granted. I am accustomed to the way life is around here and think nothing unusual about it. I thought perhaps it may be so much different than many of your lives that I would share a few things.
There are many reasons why I like the small town atmosphere. Just last evening I gathered with about 400 other people for the annual water district meeting where you know many of the people present. Not many go for the meeting which lasts only 15-20 minutes. It’s the free meal of barbecue and all the trimmings that we go for, along with conversation. I guess you could say community.
There aren’t many places where you can be out mowing your grass and a neighbor will pass you on the road, pull over to the side, and I have spent up to three hours talking to them. Mind you, this is more time than I want to spend, but I have done it.
I can walk into all three banks in town and know every single person working in them. Even the grounds keepers.
Not many banks today will lend your 17 year old child money, much less with no signature from the parent. They did at my banks. They would call and make certain that I knew about it, but they didn’t require me to be on the loan. The bankers do know me well and respect me and knew that I would never let the note go unpaid. This is community. One trusting the other.
One of my good friends is a family physician. I can’t begin to tell you how many dozens of times he has done a diagnosis at our coffee shop table and written the prescription on a napkin. Seriously!! The town pharmacy owner sits with us sometimes, and when a prescription is needed Doc just tells the pharmacist and never writes one. In fact one was ordered for me this morning.
In the Summer some of us fish and catch great quantities. The coffee shop lets us have use of the building after they close and we serve all who come. Any and everyone is invited. Again, community.
To me spending Saturdays at the local livestock auction is commonplace. You see other cowboys you know and you chat and maybe buy some cattle. Probably 90% who are there every Saturday never buy an animal. The reason they are there is for the comaraderie.
Memorial Day is an event that I look forward to every year. The cemetery on the hill is just full of local people dressing the graves of deceased loved one. Most take lawn chairs and group up and visit some. The VFW is always present and after a prayer and the bugle is blown and the Pledge of Allegiance given rifles shots blaze into the air. This is an event that used to be common, but is now unique.
I could go on and on with things of this nature. It is a pleasant place for me to live. It’s the closeness of the people that I so much like. The real closeness of people that most need and yet don’t have today. We are regular people enjoying one another no matter our stations in life. There isn’t much keeping up with the Jones’s.
I am not trying to paint a picture of perfection. The people aren’t without flaw. I know, because I’m one of them. But most do rely on one another in different ways. This could be another post in itself.
Just like in the 1960s Andy Griffith Show there were still difficulties and problems, but in the end the community stuck pretty much together.
It is no accident that we all live where we do. In the providence of God we live where we do for His purpose. We are to be that shining light on the hill for all to see. To give witness of our risen Lord and of His love and mercy and grace.
Until tomorrow, Lord willing,