If anyone reading this lives in a town of more than 1100 registered voters in the entire county, you might not be able to relate to what I'm about to say.
Today I went "up town" (so stated because we live five miles south of town center, the one traffic light). My first errand was to cash a check (written to "cash") at the local-- as well as locally owned-- bank. I exchanged greetings at the drive-in window where the young lady noticed I was wearing makeup (for a change). She apparently remembered me from previous visits, especially from the time the ATM wouldn't give me my money and I had to solicit her help. Another teller, a dear grandmother of one of my favorite high school students a few years ago, stuck her head around the corner to greet me. I signed the check for cash, and went on to sign my husband's name on a check made out to him, which they cashed—no questions asked.
Then I moved across the street to the post office. I parked beside a car whose passenger door was being opened by a very elderly lady, dressed to the nines in her coral pink pants suit and pearls. As I walked into the post office, a likewise elderly man was ahead of me, shuffling his feet and laboring to get inside. I thought I should help him with the door. As I tried to get around him without looking rude or impatient, I caught a whiff of aftershave lotion and I noticed his spotless appearance, his polyester blend shirt tucked in neatly to his pleated pants. I started to stand back when he gallantly opened the door and gestured me inside with all the decorum of a Kappa Alpha pledge. Once inside, I was surprised to realize the window was closed for lunch. The older gentleman reminded me that they would be back at 1:30p.m.
Upon exiting the post office, I saw the elderly lady, apparently his wife, who greeted me with a smile. I asked if the drop-off for the checks for trash pick-up was in the same place, since the city office had relocated. Someone walking by said hello, and Yes, they did still check the drop-off box, which was a discarded library book depository. However, the older lady said she would be glad to take my check and deliver it to the city clerk that afternoon. I thanked her and told her I would simply mail it.
On my way home, I realized I had forgotten to stop by the drugstore and pick up a prescription. No problem; I will simply call the pharmacist and she is always happy to leave the medicine in my mailbox.
As I drove home, I realized the hometown feeling is still alive. There are real people here who want to relate to each other. There are older men who still feel satisfaction from being courteous to women. All together, if catastrophe struck, I would rather be in a community of caring people than in a concrete jungle where everyone is a stranger.