Life really is different in a small town. The ebb and flow is like molasses. People don’t drive to the store in their pickup trucks — rather, they scoot their way down the road. Down here in these parts, it’s plumb normal to see a pack of children — or dogs — taking a joyride in the back of the aforementioned pickup truck. I remember those days…we all fought over who got to sit on the hump. I imagine, though, that if someone hauled their kids or their dogs in the back of a truck in my suburban city, the police would make up an excuse to pull ’em over.
People in small town Texas are friendly and unpretentious. What you see — and hear — is what you get. The waitress who accidentally takes your appetizer to another table gets chewed out by the manager in full earshot of all the restaurant patrons — and then she gives it right back by announcing that she only had two hours of sleep last night and she’s doin’ good to just be up on her feet. The cooks know how to chicken fry pretty much anything, and it tastes just like grandma’s. I swear I was momentarily transported back to 1979 when I took a bite of my friend chicken and southern-style green beans…you know, the kind that soaks up delicious bacon flavor from simmering all day?
The roads are different down here in these parts, too. For one thing, the railroad tracks actually merge with the roadway so there’s barely a bump at each crossing. I think the engineers in my town need to take a field trip out here to see the definition of “even.” We get tickled every time we could out this way because the six-lane divided interstate has a posted speed limit of 60mph…but once we get on narrow, two-lane country roads, the limit goes up to 70. What’s up with that paradox?
Trees and hills are bigger out here, too.
It took us awhile to wind our way up the “mountain” (translation: Texas-speak for “very large hill”), but once we got to the top, this was our reward.
I’m reminded of the benefits of slowing myself down in this crazy, busy life. If you find yourself overwhelmed and unable to see God’s hand in your Martha-like life, take a trip out to a small town. You’ll be forced to slow your step and ignore your email, since internet access is probably spotty or nonexistent. It’s in these quiet places that we can really tune in to God and tune out all the unnecessary “urgent” things that demand all our attention.
Peace. Be still.
But be careful not to smell the stinkbugs!