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Life in a small town is pretty great

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Sep 5, 2021

Once again, I had someone ask me why I live in a small town. The question came from someone I have known for a long time, and who has lived in a larger city pretty much all of his life – at least in the suburbs of a large city all of his life.

I understand the question.

I spent most of my early years living in a suburb of San Diego, Denver, or Minneapolis. (Although to be accurate, I never really did live in Bloomington, but that was my “official” residence while I attended college in Mankato.)

When I first moved to Mankato to go to college, I pretty much considered it a small town. But then, I discovered “real” small towns and pretty much fell in love with them.

My friend thought of life in the city as great, with everything you would ever need close at hand. Restaurants, large stores, sporting events, concerts, theater, etc., and can’t imagine living somewhere where all of that is not easily available.

I sure can. We have stores and restaurants, high school sporting events and community theater here, but on a smaller scale.

I don’t consider that a bad thing.

What we don’t have is tremendous traffic issues, crime, wait lines everywhere and overcrowding.

Yes, small towns have their problems, for sure. But, they also have a whole lot of pluses.

People willing to help their neighbors and others tops the list of reasons why I live in a small town.

And probably topping that list is the wonderful little community of Frost. And I mean little – less than 200 people live in the town itself.

Once again they are getting ready to help a neighbor. They have another one of their famous fish fry benefits on tap for Sept. 11, this one going towards helping the Steinhauer family.

If you have never been to one of these, let me tell you, people show up in droves. Many folks are involved in making the food (there is a whole lot more than just fish there), donating to the cause, and seeing it all gets done. It is a whole community effort.

Then there was a story about some of the athletes at United South Central High School I recently heard about.

It seems there was a problem with all the inflatables coming to Kernel Days. The owner of them could not bring a staff member with him.

So, the Kernel Days organizers put out a plea for help, and USC’s Joe Kuechenmeister got in touch with coaches, who got in touch with some of their athletes and the problem was solved.

The kids helped set up the inflatables and man them during the day and help take them down.

Speaking of USC, some folks noticed that the garden area in front of the main entrance to the school was looking a little tired, weedy and needing of some care.

Instead of just notifying school staff to take care of it, they gathered some friends and took care of it themselves – just in time for the back to school night last Wednesday.

There are so many other stories of neighbors helping neighbors that I could cite, and many have made their way onto the pages of the Faribault County Register.

There are folks who mow lawns or shovel the snow for their neighbors who are not able to do it themselves. Groups of farmers help out someone who is unable to do the planting or harvesting themselves due to accidents or illness. Church friends rally around someone who has suffered the loss of a loved one.

Okay, I am sure this might happen in the big city as well. But probably not on the scope it does in a small community. I am also sure there are small towns, usually so-called “bedroom communities” near larger cities, where folks really don’t know their neighbors.

My friend from the big city was surprised by the number of people I know in my small town. And that I know who my neighbors are. He knew only one of his neighbors.

I could tell him I also know the mayor, city administrator, school superintendent, police chief, county sheriff, and, well you get the idea. Sure, some of that is due to my job, but there are a host of folks here who can say the same thing.

My friend has a choice of a wide variety of stores to shop at, from huge super markets to gigantic box stores. On the other hand, my grocery store, Juba’s, is two blocks away, and my favorite hardware store, Breen’s, is three blocks away. And I know the owners of those stores.

I can get what I need pretty quickly. On the other hand, it takes me a while to shop, because I know I am always going to run into a bunch of people I know and I will end up visiting with all of them.

All part of life in a small town.

Why do I live in a small town? Because I can.

It was a decision I made 50 years ago, and I have never regretted it.