So I’ve been getting flack from my big city friends.
How could I handle a tiny village like the one I grew up in?
There were 217 people in town and surrounding area when I left Annaheim. I graduated with 6 other people; 5 girls, 1 guy.
I love and miss my town. I get talking about home and I can tell a million stories. Then the questions come.
Who did you go to prom with? How did you even have a prom? Was everyone your cousin?
No one has heard of my town. No one has even met someone from a town that small.
Everyone that I go to school with (except one other person from Saskatchewan) has no idea what such a small town was like.
So I’ll explain:
Now smash it into a million tiny pieces.
Now take those pieces and throw it at the prairies (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba).
That is how small towns work.
Some of those pieces are going to be tiny, some of those pieces are going to be bigger.
Each piece will have its own businesses, its own people and its own personality.
Those pieces are also going to be at least five kilometres away from each other, most of them even farther.
Even in Toronto, neighbourhoods are comprised of people coming together for community events, church and school functions……right? Then those neighbourshood mix and mingle and you get to know other people in the city, right?
That is what we do in a small town.
People come together to support their neighbourhoods. They volunteer to put on sporting events and tournaments, plays and concerts, dances and parties, town and church meetings, etc.
The only difference becomes the distance between two neighbourhoods.
In high school, we would have to drive 20-30 km per weekend to go to dances or parties. The longest I ever remember having to go is 60 kilometres. You know how long it took? An hour to drive that far to a party. Try driving that far in an hour in Toronto.
Every high schooler within that hour radius went to that party.
This is how you got to know everyone within that hour radius. People you party with, play sports against, join clubs with. Most of my best friends, people I’m going to be friends with for the rest of my life, come from my high school band, which was made up of kids from 4 of 5 towns.
Everything is a community thing where I am from.
Now here is the real kicker, what made everyone’s jaws drop.
All seven of us.
The questions: who did you all dance with, there was only seven of you.
No one seems to understand that it wasn’t just seven people alone in a gym in the middle of nowhere.
The thing about a small town grad is that the whole community is there. Family and friend’s, some from 2 or 3 towns over come to celebrate and party with you.
In my case, 10 friends from other towns came, along with my brother, his wife and kids from Alberta, my grandparents from BC and a couple of aunts and uncles.
Everyone came to our grad because everyone had a hand in raising us.
Small towns are the true definition of the phrase, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.
I don’t remember a single parent who didn’t come to cheer us on at sporting events and concerts, or drive us to everything from tournaments to school trips halfway across the province.
It wasn’t only our parents doing the cheering, other people in town who don’t have children still cheered us on and supported us.
If it wasn’t their own child on the volleyball team or in the school play, it was their friend’s children, their neighbour’s children, their cousins, nieces, nephews or grandchildren.
These are the people who supported their community for no other reason than to make their community better. They contributed to church brunches, bazaars, magazine drives and bake sales.
My town may have been just 200 people but those 200 people contributed more to my life than any five people in Toronto ever could. They made me who I am and I’ll always be proud of where I came from.