Monday, May 18, 2015


This morning I set out with my pickup truck and returned with 12 old tires and 4 rusty, empty barrels. A friend bought an old building, once a service station, to convert to a print shop, and when she saw the tires and barrels thought of me with real pleasure, knowing that I could use them to build cross country jumps. When I told my daughter I was going to pick up a load of used tires, she said, "Gotta love the small town perks."

I like to visit cities, but I don't want to live in one. When I return to Indianapolis, my home for 8 years 2 decades ago, I'm appalled at how long it takes to get anywhere. The traffic! Did I really once put up with it? I know I did. I agree that the shopping is better in cities, but the internet's mostly got that covered, now, and besides, I can always shop when I'm travelling.

In my small town, I can get to my airport 45 minutes before the flight takes off and be fine. A long security line lasts 10 minutes.

In my small town, I once forgot to fill a rental car up with gas before I returned it. The guy at the counter gave me the keys back and told me to go do it, or he'd have to charge me way too much for the gas.

In my small town, the librarians set aside new books for me if they're on a topic I'm currently researching.

The checkout guy at Food City asks probing questions about my latest novel. He also wants to be sure I've seen the new whole-grain tortillas, since I buy tortillas often.

Once in the winter I was swimming laps at the Y. The lifeguard leaned over and yelled, "Are you Kim Bradley? Someone just called to say your horses got loose!"

When my horses get loose, complete strangers pound on the door to tell me, and then stay to help catch them.

When my sheepdog ran off while I was on vacation, friends searched until they find her.

Everyone knows that on Wednesdays you can find me at Faith in Action. Friends stop by, sometimes just to say hi.

If my kids screw up, I hear about it before they reach home. If they do something good I hear about that, too.

I don't have a Whole Foods, but the farmers' markets are to die for. I buy pasture-raised meat direct from my yoga instructor's farmer husband, eggs from my next-door neighbor, and fresh goat cheese from a friend.

The guy at the feed store knows me, knows the man who cuts my grass, and knows the people who care for the farm when I'm out of town. He'll sell anything to my help or my children and bill my account without issue.

The man who cuts my grass can pretty much go anywhere in town, pick up any sort of farm equipment or supply, and walk out with it, and the store will bill me. If an employee insists on calling me for verification, the man who cuts my grass gets indignant on my behalf.

I'm not queen of Bristol. This is what it's like here, for everyone. What are the perks of life in your town?