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Street Talk

Small Town Life Offers So Many Rewards

by Jessie Gurner

Someone once said, “If nobody knows the troubles you’ve seen, then you don’t live in a small town.”

Over the holidays while I was talking to a friend who lives in a very large city (over 8 million) one of the things we discussed was how living in a city differs from living in a small town.

I was willing to concede that although I might not be able to find gyôza at 2 a.m. there are advantages to a small town that a city dweller will never know.

Since this column focuses on Main Street let’s start there.  The wonderful old buildings that are the core of our downtown have character and warmth.  People say “Hello” and “How are you?” as they pass on the sidewalk or meet in the stores. There’s a sense of belonging, of people caring and knowing each other.

We have lots of green space, plenty of parks to enjoy with the children, and peace and quiet. Our neighborhoods have a great mix of older and newer homes with nice large yards.

In a city there are too many people coming and going.

Too much hustle and bustle. Too many lives that are far too busy for people to get to know their neighbors.

When  someone becomes ill our entire community quickly jumps in to help the family. When someone dies we do what we can to aid the grieving family.

In most cities overcrowding had reduced the effectiveness of the school systems. Child poverty is high, child crime is rising, and children can’t play in the park by themselves without adult supervision for fear of harm. In fact children seldom walk to school on their own anymore due to safety concerns.

Here, children can play in the park, enjoy a game of ball or walk to school in safety. You probably know the names of the children who live on your street, the names of their parents and grandparents and maybe even the names of the children’s first cousins. 

Water Valley isn’t perfect. Like most small towns we need a lot of things.  More industry, more jobs, and better recreational facilities are just a few items on the list.

I am not recommending that when we look at Water Valley we only think of some nostalgic image of the way it used to be. We are a community of people, not a museum piece.

But in our desire for change, let’s not lose sight of the good things we already have. There is nothing like the warm-heartedness, loyal friendship and deep sympathy of the people who call Water Valley home.

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