Thoughts with Zoe
April 10, 2019
I just returned from a real vacation. You know the kind that energizes you while you’re gone. The kind of vacation that when you get home you don’t need to take a vacation to recover from your vacation. But, let’s face it, it isn’t pretty here, yet. It’s still gray. There is blue sky and sunshine, but no flowers, and although the trees are starting to bud, no vivid green. Harriet Ann Jacobs says, “The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” Nothing gives me a better lift then the beauty of nature. And to be honest, nothing compares to it, not even being with family that I love.
When I returned to Big Sandy I ran into two friends at the coffee shop. They had stopped for a coffee drink to relax and to enjoy each other’s company. It dawned on me friends laughing and enjoying each other is just as energizing as spring blossoms. A quote by Ann Landers says, “Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.”
I realized Big Sandy is home and it is here I should feel energized. This is where my family and friends are. This is where I feel covered by a blanket of warmth. This is where I’m empowered because this is where I’m encouraged to be myself.
According to J. F. Riordan, “Small towns are a microcosm of the human experience, but with more intensity. You live shoulder to shoulder with your oldest friends, and your fiercest enemies. You daily encounter the person who cheated you; who stood you up; who broke your heart; and the people who know your complete history: every bad decision, every embarrassment, every moment of kindness (if any).”
I remember when my mother was dying of cancer she said to me small towns are the best and the worst of life’s experiences. During our everyday life, they know everything about us, or think they do. It’s difficult to live our private lives, but when life gives you extreme difficulties they are there for you. You don’t have face it alone. From the moment, my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she never cooked another meal because my parent’s friends brought them a meal almost every day for three years. For three years she was never hungry, but she would eat because of the love of her neighbors.
In small town life, we have profound relationships because our community requires it. We are expected to participate with each other. Neighbors celebrate and mourn with us. They come and dig us out of the snow, they plow out our driveways when we can’t. We raise money when there is a need. We do the farm work when they can’t. We make hundreds of casseroles and dozens of cookies.
We may have a simple life, but it has enormous value.
I wander around town looking for stories, stories that celebrate who we are, stories that keeps us connected. So, seeing two friends meeting is a story. It reminds me of who we are, and it’s time to celebrate that.