Living in a small town

Life in a small town is quiet… I suppose that it could even be considered serene by some. Life goes at a little slower pace and you tend to know a lot more people in town than if you were in a big city.

I don’t live in a small town and I’m not sure that I really want to. I like being close to activity and all the opportunities that being near a city has to offer. But every once in a while we like to get away from our lives at home, get away and slow down for a bit (no internet or 3G there), and of course visit family.

The thumb region in Mid-Michigan is full of these kinds of small towns. They’ve been around for years and the families that live there have been there for generations. My family is one of those… my dad grew up in Caseville and we end up in the area every summer.

Farming is a way of life there and beans are big! Navy & soy beans of course and Bayside Best is one of the largest distributers around. As you drive through the countryside there are huge fields full of beans that you can see across for miles and the nearest farm a tiny speck in the distance.

bayside beans corn
 The sad part is that so many of these small towns are dying out. They are over 30 or 40 minutes to the nearest city and have little to no industrial type work there, very few businesses, and their downtown areas are grim. But once they were busy and bustling until times changed and now all that’s left are the buildings and ghosts reminding of us of the past.

fire dept downtown river
Like I said, farming is big in this region of Michigan. Aside from beans we produce a whole lot of sugar beets and when I say a lot I mean 29 – 34 tons for the growing season and the beets can handle all problems of nature – drought or damp, both of which are pretty common here (especially this summer).

Michigan Sugar company processes all the sugar beets grown in Michigan in four different factories all in small, mid-Michigan towns. Towards the end of summer (around August this year) you can see the truckers hauling loads of beets into town and then dumping them in huge piles to wait for processing. Just a little side note… the smell coming from the plant it really gross… all you can smell is manure! When you walk by the plant though you can smell the beets which is significantly better than the manure smell.

Mi sugar 20120919-205712.jpg20120919-205702.jpg
My parents like it there in the small town. They go there every year and stay all summer long just like so many other retired couples looking to get away. They relax, play bingo, tell stories around the campfire at night, and fish. Oh yes… most of these small towns are right on the Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron) and fishing is almost a national past time for some.

train tracks

What about you? Do you live in a small town? What’s it like there?

13 Responses to Living in a small town
  1. Tonja
    September 20, 2012 | 12:17 pm

    I grew up on a dead-end dirt road in the Thumb and hated every minute of it as an angst-filled teenager :) That said, I’m taking my daughter up to my sister’s house this weekend to ride horses, so there are definite perks!

    • Jackie
      September 21, 2012 | 8:45 am

      I’m not sure that I could live there… everything is so far away it seems. But I do love to go and visit!

  2. Kmama
    September 21, 2012 | 8:26 am

    One of my college roommates grew up and still lives in the Thumb area. Her family farmed cash crops, mostly sugar beets. Even though I don’t live too far from there, that way of life is just so foreign to me. It’s always interesting to take a drive up there.

    And we typically camp in Caseville every Memorial Day weekend!

    • Jackie
      September 21, 2012 | 8:44 am

      That’s funny because we’re up there every Memorial Day weekend too! And other various weekends through out the summer.

  3. Jamie
    September 21, 2012 | 12:06 pm

    Those small towns are iconic… however, I’d really struggle with living there. Such a close knit community where everyone knows each other and their business.. ;)

    • Jackie
      September 27, 2012 | 2:19 pm

      Yea, I wouldn’t want everyone knowing everything about me! Privacy can be important!

  4. Emmy
    September 21, 2012 | 7:00 pm

    I grew up in what was once a small town that even as it grew still tried to pretend it was a small town– but it was always one of the furtherest out suburbs of Chicago, so while it had the small town charm everything was close by.

    My best friend lived about 30 minutes from me in a truly small farming town where the only thing to do late at night was hit up the local walmart in the neighboring small town.

    • Jackie
      September 27, 2012 | 2:19 pm

      LOL… the kids around here hit up Walmart too and we’re only 30 minutes or so to a bigger city!

  5. Kimberly
    September 22, 2012 | 11:03 pm

    I live in a small town, but still close to the larger cities and I love it. It’s quiet and peaceful, but still close enough to the action.

  6. Maryann
    September 27, 2012 | 12:39 pm

    I don’t live in a small town, but sometimes I wish I did. I want to be able to walk where I need to go, and to not be rushing all the time. But then I like my conveniences so let’s just say I’m fickle.

    • Jackie
      September 27, 2012 | 2:18 pm

      I like being close… like 30 minutes or less to all the things that a bigger city has to offer that’s for sure. Where I’m at now is just like that!

  7. Ann
    September 27, 2012 | 1:39 pm

    I live in a very small town in Tn. We moved here after a transfer to the area. I don’t like it. I grew up in a smallish town in Tx, but I could be in a decent-sized city in half an hour. Here, I drive over an hour to see a decent doctor. Nearest hospital or grocery store is 45 minutes. The corruption is rampant and the entire city council is run by members of two local churches. The unemployment is off the charts, but local leaders consistently pass ordinances to prohibit industry. Why? Because industry invites outsiders and outsiders will see the corruption and expose it.
    It’s nowhere-ville. Drug and alcohol abuse is rampant You see the high school graduation announcements in the local paper in May, the wedding announcement in June, and a year later they have a baby and are living below poverty level. Repeating the cycle of their parents and grandparents.
    We will be moving after the first of the year.

    • Jackie
      September 27, 2012 | 2:17 pm

      Oh my… I don’t blame you for moving! I’d be out of there fast… they wouldn’t even miss me!

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