Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Small Town Traditions


Small towns have traditions. In Mapleton, Utah where we moved from, the fire trucks would circle around town at 6:30 a.m on July 24th with their sirens screeching. It was to wake everybody up for the Pioneer Day celebrations.

Here in Lander, Wyoming, they set off cannons at 6:00 AM! to commemorate Veterans Day.

Oh, how I love small towns.

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I grew up in a small town: Preston, Idaho to be exact. Yes, home of Napoleon Dynamite. Only I lived outside of town. I was a country kid. See, in our small town there were city kids and country kids. You were a city kid if you lived in town. Our town had fewer than 5000 people. Hardly a city, but still we made that distinction.

We probably made it because we felt different. Our families were mostly farmers. We got up early, had chores, and listened to the commodities report on the radio. We went to church and high school basketball games. We never ate out. The most we could hope for was a stop at the gas station--the Will-0-way--where my Dad would buy a Mars bar and cut into seven equal pieces when we got home. About once a year, we'd get shakes at the Arctic Circle.

The city kids were different. Their Dads were bankers or salesmen or supervisors at factories. The city kids slept in on Saturdays, played golf, and shopped for school clothes in Salt Lake City. Their families owned their own VCRs. They ate chinese food and seafood and knew what they were going to be when they grew up.

We, too, had a small town tradition: Rodeo weekend. Rodeo weekend was big. A parade every night on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday followed by the rodeo. There was a carnival, too. You could see into the rodeo arena from the ferris wheel and you could hear the carnival noise from the rodeo stands. The rodeo grounds smelled like hamburgers, cigarette smoke, and cotton candy. I was a country kid, not a cowboy, so the rodeo was thrilling to me. I loved rodeo weekend. Even now, the thought of it fills me with memories and nostalgia.

Lying in bed, at 6 a.m. with cannons going off every 20 seconds, I thought how a rodeo and a parade and a carnival are really the perfect small-town tradition.

Mostly because nobody wakes you up.


7 comments:

Ratchfords said...

I love this post - it makes me very nostalgic... and homesick!

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

No wonder you are a success in life. I love that your dad was so frugal. Holly and I had to watch the fireworks from the roof of our shed 5 1/2 miles away. Not much to "Ooh" and "Aah" over. But cutting a candy bar into seven pieces. Now that is thrifty.

I think I love your dad. And you. Miss you.

kado! said...

i love small town traditions! I miss the Friday night football tradition of the town where we grew up...the WHOLE town would be at the local high school watching the home game...i wish my boys had that...but sadly it is just a memory I'll have!

Mer said...

I thought I knew you - at least somewhat, but I am finding out so much about your family that makes me like them even more, and sad that I didn't take advantage of the time I had when we were growing up. I have missed the rodeo the past several years, but at 6:30 on parade nights I always have a personal moment to reminisce:)

farmgirl said...

I love it when you write about Preston. Really, anything about Preston. We were so lucky to grow up there.
On a side note: You seemed really cool for a country kid. Way cooler than this country kid.

Damama T said...

Sorry. They were honoring my 53rd birthday. I had no idea you were still sleepint! ;o) LOL!

But seriously, is there anything else in the world that smells like small town rodeo days? I knew exactly what you were talking about!

mannequin said...

Your writing makes me miss my small town even more. I never thought about small town sounds though, until reading this.

You're right. Small town sounds are quite comforting, not disturbing and distant like big city sounds. Small town sounds are familiar.