Remember to bloom where you’re planted

Fortunately, I’ve had the best of three worlds in my short lifetime. I grew up on a farm on Route 12 in upstate New York. A farm full of trees and flowers and lilac bushes. A farm that had a maple woods, a large pond, and lots of wonderful places to hide. Then when I was 17, my parents moved to town. And that was the beginning of my second world. As a young woman, I lived in small towns for short periods of time in many states, including Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, New York, and Minnesota. Each town had its own charm, and they often had beautiful churches and village squares. I loved to wander through town and savour the local colour. Then in my late 20s, I moved with my husband to western Canada. And for the first time in my life, I experienced the fun of city life. I loved shopping in the upscale malls with my mother and going to the parks with family friends. I enjoyed the live theatre and the wonderful restaurants, especially the revolving restaurant on top of a tall building from which we could see the whole city while we ate. But after 10 years of city living, my college professor husband chose to teach in a small college in the U.S. Midwest. And I was back in a small town. A town where I know my neighbours, my doctor, my dentist, and the clerks in the stores. And when we go to concerts, instead of sitting in the third balcony with a sea of people we don’t know, we sit on the main floor and usually meet dozens of friends. I, for one, enjoy small-town living. And I’m not the only person who feels that way. A recent poll on AOL asked the question, “Where would you like to live?” A whopping 47 percent said they would like to live in a small town. This poll accompanied an article with this headline, “Georgia Drops Nearly 500 Communities Off Its Map.” It seems that Georgia’s Department of Transportation wanted to have a neater and more uncluttered map. So they erased 488 small towns, including Dewy Rose, Hemp, Retreat, Poetry Tulip, Due West, Cloudland, and Roosterville. But one town isn’t taking it sitting down. Hickory Level, population 1,000, is almost 200 years old. It still is a proud town and recently has put up five new welcome signs. Georgia’s transportation officials only wanted a more readable map, but they’ve run into a groundswell of complaints. What they didn’t bargain on was the pride many people have in their home towns. What about you? Are you part of the 47 percent who love small towns, the seven percent who prefer big cities, or the other 46 percent who want to live “somewhere in between.” How odd that only seven percent prefer the city when 80 percent of people in the United States and Canada live in cities! Are the other 73 percent unhappy? Country. . . city . . . small town. All three have their good points. So why not choose to take pride in—and find the treasures—wherever you live. As my friend, Jeannine, reminded us at the pool recently: remember the old adage and bloom where you are planted! Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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