In Lewistown, IL, there is one post office, one stoplight, and one grocery store. I could not only name everyone I saw on a daily basis, but I could probably also tell you what kind of vehicle they drove, where they lived, and anything else you wanted to know. That’s just how small town life goes.
My experience of moving from a rural farm town to Champaign-Urbana was like moving to a different planet where everyone spoke a different language. My backyard is no longer a cornfield, and in fact, the closest cornfield is the Morrow Plots on the University of Illinois campus. There’s more people that live within a mile radius than there is living in my whole hometown. The closest neighbors live only 10 feet away, but I couldn’t even tell you their names. The big city life does have its advantages. I no longer have to drive an hour to catch a movie, I save a lot of gas money, and meeting new people has never been easier. But there’s just something about that small town atmosphere that you can’t find along the streets in the city. Maybe it’s the way the community pulls together to help the farmer whose cows got loose and are running down the main street. Or maybe it’s how we realize that driving 15mph behind a tractor isn’t an inconvenience because after all, that tractor helps feed us three times a day. The more time I spend away from home, the more thankful I am for my life in a small town.