Things not to do in a Small Town

In a small town, you don’t flip anyone off for bad driving, ever. The other driver will guaranteed turn out to be your child’s Sunday School teacher, your dentist, or your boss’s spouse.

In a small town, you don’t announce on Facebook that you’ve been diagnosed as diabetic, then try to pick up cupcakes at the grocery deli. The clerk will refuse to sell them to you unless you can prove they’re for someone else’s birthday. And you can’t lie about the birthday, because the grocery deli women know EVERYONE’s birthdays. By heart.

In a small town, you can’t buy cheap wine as a gift. Everyone shops at the same wine store.

In a small town, when you admire clothing someone else is wearing, you don’t ask where they got it; you know it came from either the expensive boutique at the top of the hill, or the thrift store on the corner, because Walmart doesn’t sell it. So don’t ask.

In a small town, if you’ve already eaten when you realize you’ve forgotten your wallet, odds are good you’re going to know at least two other diners who will bail you out–just in case the restaurant owner won’t wait for you to pay next time you’re in.

In a small town, you don’t forget your wedding anniversary, since the local florist makes courtesy calls two weeks before.

In a small town, it is unwise to hold a yard sale. Everything you want to get rid of was a gift from someone else, who will attend or have a relative attending. This is why God invented eBay.

In a small town, walking for exercise requires prior planning; distributing a flyer before you start your new regimen can avoid hurt feelings later, when you wave your neighbors and fellow church members away as they stop to pick you up.

In a small town, when you hand the clerk a hundred dollar bill, she doesn’t stroke it with a counterfeit detection pen.  Instead she checks the serial number, laughs, and says, “Yep, ends in 003. I gave this to Judy at the diner last week.”

In a small town, you don’t lock your doors at night — except in August. That’s zucchini season.


Filed under Big Stone Gap, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA

7 responses to “Things not to do in a Small Town

  1. anne

    Wendy,you hit the nail on the head.

  2. Mario R.

    Get rid of old friends: they too
    have gardens and full trunks.
    Look for newcomers: befriend
    them in the post office, unload
    on them and run. Stop tourists
    in the street. Take truckloads
    to Boston. Give to your Red Cross.
    Beg on the highway: please
    take my zucchini, I have a crippled
    mother at home with heartburn.
    –from Marge Piercy, “Attack of the Squash People”

  3. Wendy, this message is so much a reminder of why I love small towns. Thanks for your wonderful writing.

  4. Love this and small towns. But I’m tired of only shopping at the goodwill or walmart for clothes in my town. I’ve even come across the same clothes I donated! “Oh this is cute!”…oops!

    • Jack did this with books in our favorite secondhand shop in Scotland – “This looks interesting.”

      “Honey, look inside the cover. See those initials?”

      “Yeah, JB. So? Oh…..”

  5. I spent the weekend in the small town of my birth, and I agree with all the things cited here. Long live small southern towns!

  6. Regina Miller Tatem

    LOL. I remember living in small town BSG. And back then if you did something wrong and your parents weren’t around it was ok for the neighbor to punish you. When your mom found out (and of course she would) the neighbor was thanked for their help. LOL

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