The problem with small towns is that people you meet while walking along the sidewalk smile at you because they know you, and like you. The problem with small towns is that when you are sick, your neighbors visit you. When you are grieving, they console you. When you are happy, they share in your joy.

The problem with small towns is that they don't have live sex shows. The problem with small towns is that when your children play in the streets, you don't have to worry that they will get hit by a car, or get robbed, or kidnapped.

The problem with small towns is that there is a sense of community. And that is such a shame.

My parents still live in the small town where I grew up, in the house next door to the one that was my home. The problem with that small town is that I find it peaceful and relaxing to be there, but I can't stay for more than a few days without getting jumpy.

People drive too slowly for my city reflexes. They are too polite for my shell of indifference. They give directions using human referrents - "Go back to the second concession past the McNaughton farm, you know, he married one of the Brand girls, Karen maybe, one of Pat's daughters - then turn left and go just past Pete's turnip field and you're there." I can't remember any of these people¹, and I can't admit it either.

The sidewalk on my parents' street is cracked and broken. It's been like that as long as I can remember. i could draw you an diagram of the cracks in front of our old house, so often did I run over them with my Tonka toys.

My dad says they're going to tear that sidewalk up and put in fresh cement. And do you know what? It's just a sidewalk, but it almost makes me cry. That's my childhood they're planning to tear up. It's a small town thing.

1. I remember Karen, well enough. But that's another story.

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