Rural Roots



Small town life is top drawer.

Even though philosophers and psychologists alike will tell us that our circumstances are what we make of them, I'm really, really glad that by luck or by design I plopped into a small town.

I was only five when my dad was transferred by his employer from Regina, Saskatchewan to this little 'burg in Southern Ontario. The town's population hovered around the 6,000 mark in the late 1950's, and it took the next 50 years to swell to 15,000.

When the moving van pulled up to the old brick two-storey house we had rented, the kindly driver took pity on the little girl who stood at the curb, and unpacked my tricycle first. I remember feeling thrilled as I pedalled it up and down the block meeting the other little kiddies who lived on the street. Looking back, this was my first taste of what I call "the small town advantage."

Fifty-five years later, I can report that I am still here, and there are reasons for that.

It has been a joy to live in affordable housing within walking distance of an elementary school, a secondary school, a grocery store, the municipal library, a farmer's market and the town's downtown core, featuring as many shops, services and restaurants as we've ever required. We drive less than 10 miles to reach the shoreline of Lake Erie, with all its natural beauty, beaches, waterfront villages and provincial parks. It only takes a couple of minutes to get out of town. It was incredibly convenient to leave home ten minutes before we were supposed to be at work. We came home for lunch every day.

George and I like going to the movie theatre downtown. We decide to go at the last minute and still arrive in time for the lights to go down. We park the car right across the street -- for free. We pay 25 percent less for admission than in the city, saving even more if we go on Tuesdays. There are only 50 people in the theatre and we have our pick of seats any night.

We feel so lucky to be ordinary fish in a little pond. We always knew and trusted the people we did business with -- those who cut our hair, delivered our paper or taught our kids. It's wonderful that we can count on our neighbours to look out for us and to look in on us.

Now that I think about it, counting our blessings is one thing. Really feeling blessed is golden.