The other night we went to the second annual dog sled races in our town. And I had one of those moments where I felt such pride to live in this area. As we stood shivering on main street, gathering with the other spectators that had came to watch the race begin, my husband and I tried to imagine what life was like here 100 years or so ago when the streets were lined with people like that on any average Friday evening. Sometimes we forget about all the history this area holds and when we stop to think of it like that- it's pretty amazing. And then, we came to the conclusion that we're pretty glad there are no longer 50,000 or so people living in this area like there was at one time. We rather like it on the smallish side, thank-you very much.
Sometimes this town gets a bad rap. The negatives get brought up much more than the positives. People who don't live here drive through it and see a bunch of run down buildings and abandoned houses. They see struggling businesses and tired neighborhoods and they leave as fast as they came in. But others- those of us who grew up here- well, we don't mind it so much. In fact, some of us rather like this little old town quite a bit.
So it was one of those moments- first, watching the mushers led out of town by their teams of dogs with so much support from the community, and then later watching the brief- but perfect in it's small-town way- display of fireworks over the football field- which led me to feel a strong sense of pride for this little, old town.
Several years ago I was asked if I minded growing up here. No offense to the asker, but it was worded as if it were some sort of punishment to grow up here. And I immediately laughed. Minded? I repeated and chuckled some more. It's where I was born, where I made friendships and went to school. The streets of this town are familiar to me in a comfortable sort of way that fits. I skied on the hill behind my house, I ran the trails that wound through the woods, I thought perhaps someday I'd leave, but I never went too far. This is my home.
Did I mind growing up in this town? Not hardly. I felt lucky to grow up here and I feel lucky to raise my kids here. Not everyone might agree with me- of course this place has it's difficulties like any other town in this country- but it's not that bad. In fact, this town is pretty much okay.