I grew up just out side a community of about 15,000 people. It was a city by definition, but there were very few people you didn’t know… at least by association! When I was 17, and graduated from highschool, I moved to the the ‘Big City’. Although the largest city in my Province, there are just under 700,000 people, making it pretty teeny tiny in comparison to most booming metropolises in the US. After we got married, we lived there for about 5 years!
When Hubby Bumpkin started training for his new job, we knew a move somewhere rural would be in our near future, and as much as we thought a ‘Country Lifestyle’ suited us, I don’t know if we could ever really have prepared for what life has been like for us Bumpkins.
I expected people to be ‘all up in our business’, that’s the city in me trying to escape, but I had NO CLUE how much people would know in such a short amount of time. Living just outside of a town with a population of about 60, I should have expected word would get around fast!
To put things in perspective: We have no Hardware Store, no Mechanic, no Pharmacy, no Post Office (although there are mail boxes, that get filled by someone working at the Post Office 15 min. down the road), and no Grocery or Convenience store! There is a small Bank, a Church, and a 2 pump Gas Station with a 3 room Motel and a greasy spoon Restaurant all attached.
When I found out I was expecting we anticipated word getting around very quickly and decided to wait the usual 12-13 weeks before making it known publicly. We succeeded, barely.
One day while eating at the Gas Station, the cook’s 6 yr old daughter very proudly announced, to us, she was going to be a big sister! Even though I hadn’t announced my pregnancy I was super excited knowing that my baby would have at least 1 other child similar in age! It turns out we are due only day’s apart, but living in such a small town she felt that keeping it a secret was pointless! I felt bad keeping our news from her, only to discover later that I’m actually farther along than she is.
Recently another woman came through Hubby Bumpkin’s work and mentioned that she heard his wife was pregnant. She herself is due in July! Neither of us know this woman, I still don’t know most of the locals, but I find it interesting that many people already know about me! I was told to expect her to ‘drop by’ some day and I look forward to at the very least organizing some play dates once our babies are born!
Another example, of just how small a town we live in involves our new truck! If Hubby Bumpkin saw that I called it “OUR” truck he might have a bird, but you get the point. A few weeks ago, a beloved member of our vehicle family, Chevy, went to motor heaven. She was about 15 yrs old, and didn’t owe anyone anything. She was a hard working truck. The day after she died, we left first thing in the morning, headed into the Big City and purchased a new truck (yet to be named)! We didn’t get home until after dark.
The next morning Hubby worked days, and around 11 am, a man showed up on our doorstep. Now, due to the nature of Hubby Bumpkin’s job, and some very recent controversy about being easily identified personally to those he encounters who may not have, lets say, ‘good intentions’ I was extremely uncomfortable with this stranger, a slightly disheveled looking man coming to my house and asking only if my husband was home. When I answered no, he asked ‘He’s at work?’. Without time to really process anything I just said “Yes.” and he left with no other words being said. Sketchy right?
After phoning to warn him about the potentially ‘bad man’ coming to his work, Hubby called back to let me know, this individual was familiar to him, a harmless, local farmer who owns several old Chevy trucks and was interested in purchasing the old truck for parts!
But how in the world would he know about our truck!?! Seriously! There are some things that I just don’t think I’ll ever understand. Having everyone know your business, sometimes before you do can be difficult for many people to deal with. So far it hasn’t been upsetting to me, just fascinating. I’m most interested to watch my children grow up in this environment. Having not experienced this kind of behaviour until my mid 20s, it’s still becoming the ‘new normal’.
That’s small town living for you though!