Monday, July 4, 2011

My Town Monday: Small Towns

The towns in Livingston County have tried to retain that small town feel, particularly around holiday or festival-type events.  There are parades on holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July (so don’t try to make your way down Main Street.)  And each town has a handful or more of special celebrations intended to draw people into town. 

Though, I would argue that there’s one big thing missing in today’s small town-style celebrations.  It’s the sense of community.  We don’t know everyone in town any more.  And these days, most people will enjoy an entire parade or downtown block party without ever talking to someone  they don’t already know.  They’ll wave their little American flags at the passing parade, trying not to make eye contact with the Strangers on either side, before shuffling the kids back into the car to drive the few blocks home.  And this is in an exceptionally safe community. 

With any luck, though, people will continue to attend these events and maybe, just maybe, use them as a way to build community and make new friends.  I’m looking forward to being able to walk or bike into town in coming years with my son—not just for the event, but the chance to mingle.  If people will mingle in return… so far, my outings to the park have only resulted in discussions with grandparents, who apparently are more willing to chat with an “outsider.”