Saturday, June 25, 2022

Small-town feel exists if we look

| October 20, 2021 1:00 AM

For nearly two weeks I’ve been viewing the world horizontally while dealing with my annual bout of the flu, the 2021 version which has kicked me in the keister. So in the 12 hours or so a day I wasn’t sleeping I had time to ponder the mysteries of life while quieting the noise of tv, social media and even reading.

I was thinking how often we hear ourselves bemoaning the loss of the “small town feel” of our communities so I posed the question to my Facebook village a couple of days ago. The nearly 100 responses were all so similar it surprised me. Amazingly only two people referenced politics.

Here’s how friends described the abstract small town feeling ... people saying hello and waving, helping a stranger, playing kick the can in the middle of the street without fear of traffic, holding the door for people, front porches where people visited with passersby on the sidewalk, seeing people you know at the store and around town and I loved this one, when you received a letter with only your name and no address on it because the postmaster knew everyone in town. Knowing both your banker and your bartender was another good one.

Smiles, friendliness, helpfulness, courtesy and kindness. Many described a nostalgic view of what our communities once were decades ago. I knew Coeur d’Alene in the 1960s as a school girl when the population was 15,000 and came to Post Falls in the mid-80s when the town boasted 4,000 people and one traffic light so I’ve seen the changes. But what I also know is that our communities are filled with more people for sure but a lot of really good and generous people. Charitable giving astounds regularly and continuously, many quiet good deeds are done daily.

You see, I believe we still possess the qualities that define a small town in the ways that matter. There are challenges to be sure with traffic and growth and a myriad of other issues but we have the capacity to be kind, friendly, helpful and courteous. Today, in your smallest and most ordinary encounters, practice what you miss most.

I was reminded of the famous New York Sun editorial from 1897 ... “Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”

Happy birthday today to Mary Lou Reed, Luke Malek, Mary Willeford, Jodie Krieg, Nick Peacock, Brooke Litalien and Jerry Lee. Tomorrow Ton Heston, Carly Goodlander, Mike Threadgill, Monika Krapfl and Paul Mikel do the birthday dance. Wish Jazmine Brown, Whitney Brown, Dick Brantley, Sara Fetters and Chastin Jaeger a happy birthday on Friday. Our youngest grandson Connor turns 18 on Saturday, sharing a birthday with Greg Helbling, Nathan Tull, Holly Hansen, Christopher Adamson, Tim Snyder and Margaret VanLeuven. Sunday Rocky Banks, Melissa Hjeltness, Adam Slobodow, Randy Millsap and David Ingalls take another trip around the sun. On Monday Jack Price, Mary Foeller, Kyley Greer, Kathryn Arrand and Damon Darakjy celebrate the anniversary of their birth. October 25 birthdays belong to Gail McGaughey, Shweta Bangaloree Green, Scott Peterson, Wanda Corcoran, Linda Jones and Brock Prince.

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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