There is something to be said about small towns. I grew up in one. Just another town in Central Jersey. I’d ride my bike around town with my friends. I went to the community pool to learn how to swim. I even hung out at the local carnival every year. Determined to ride every ride at least three times. I walked with my grandma to the little league field to watch the games. When my friends and I started to get our drivers licenses, we would drive around looking for ice cream or a place to hang out. Sitting in the car, we’d talk about our future. We’d gossip. We’d look up at the stars while the grasshoppers and lightning bugs dance around the freshly cut grass.
I would have salacious stories of drinking, drugs, and partying but I was (still am) the good girl. I rarely got to see that side. I’d stay away. Content with ice cream or the newest blockbuster release. I still stay away. Like the good girl that I am.
There is something to be said about small towns in the summer too. It is like the place comes alive. Some switch goes off, and I can hear the beats of the Andy Griffith theme song play in the distance. The lawns get greener. The kids in the neighborhood ride their bikes around with glee. Neighbors hang outside as they work on their lawns. The air feels lighter like something chemical happens in the community that even I can’t explain.
I’ve recently noticed my small town changing. Maybe I’m changing too. I don’t see anyone walking to the little league field anymore. It is full of parents who are angry about something. I do see kids riding their bikes, but they aren’t talking to each other. They are mostly stopped to stare at their phones. I couldn’t imagine driving around at night looking for some ice cream or a new movie to watch. Mostly because Blockbuster is gone but my small town has too many robberies. Too many sad people are walking around.
I can still hear that Andy Griffith theme plays each Memorial Day, but that tune sounds further and further away each year I grow older.
But yeah, there is something to be said about small towns. Especially in the summer.