There is no equal. If you live or have lived there you know the feeling. Small town living is an unparalleled way of life. The town doesn’t bustle, the traffic is usually grain trucks and tractors, and your neighbor knows what you are doing before you know. It is a community, a gathering of friends, it is neighbors helping each other….it is a family.
I have lived in a city my whole life. Well, it is actually the United States “biggest small town”. Our max population is reaching towards the 300,000 mark. It hasn’t reached that milestone yet but every year we get a little closer. On autumn Saturdays the University’s football team draws in enough fans to the stadium to make the stadium the 3rd largest city in the state. We have a new arena for concerts and “big city” type events. Our biking trails are second to none. You can ride for hours and not cycle the expanse of every trail. Biking from one metropolis to another is a great day, or two, activity. The trails take you through beautiful wooded areas thanks to the old rail system. The “city” I grew up in has come a long way, and for me knowing real small towns, it truly is the city.
I may not have lived in a small town but my immersion in small towns is complete. My family owns a farm in the middle of no where. As a child I spent summers on that piece of land with my grandmother and family, trading in pizza delivery for fresh cows milk, shopping malls for horse back riding, part-time employment for moving pipe and cutting musk thistles. I wouldn’t trade a county fair experience for a rock concert, ever. My cousins all live in rural Nebraska/Kansas, tiny towns of under 200 residents. The first thing my boyfriend did was move back to a small town just outside of the city when his life permitted him a relocation. He came from small town Nebraska as well. My mother was called to be a pastor with the ELCA when I was a teenager. She has enjoyed congregations in the middle of the countryside and now in a community that boasts a U.S. Post Office, a bank and, of course, a grain elevator. My brother recently retired from a 20 year career in the United States Navy. He was blessed with seeing this big wide world while serving his country. Where do you think he moved? You guessed it. He, with his family, moved to the smallest small town I have had the pleasure of visiting. His yard is a full city block, at a fraction of fraction of what I pay for my tiny 125′ x 45′ piece of heaven where my house is planted. I spend the majority of my time in small towns, I have since I was a tiny toddler and I suppose I will when I am wrinkled and old. I love the feeling of pride in small town living.
Recently Smithsonian released a top ten list of the best small towns to visit. I am so pleased to see Nebraska City made the list. Residents take great pride in this town. The magazine release made the front page of News Press, the city’s newspaper. Of all the small towns I visit, Nebraska City has earned this recognition. From being home to a National holiday (Arbor Day) to Lewis and Clark’s trail cutting through in their historic discoveries, you are steeped in history the moment you enter “The City”. Wine, apples, ribs, ice cream and fun abound intermingled with museums, shopping, art, hiking, movies and so much more. It doesn’t matter if you are 2 or 92 years young there truly is something for everyone in this noteworthy river town.
Pride in where you live is essential. Whether you live in a city of millions or all alone in the middle of 100 acres, take pride in your community. Engage with your neighbors, visit local businesses, contribute to the well-being of your own “small town”. We all deserve to live the “good life” not just Nebraska. 😉