Sunday, February 22, 2009

You know you're a ...

Most of you know that I am the mayor of a small town in rural Colorado. (After all, you can read the sidebar as well as anyone.) The town and its 1.5 mile radius of influence contains more than 75% of the population in the whole county. Nothing too surprising, until you consider that the county encompasses close to 2000 square miles and that the entire county is home to around 20,000 people. Now you can see why I refer to this as rural area. Some of our neighboring counties are even more sparsely populated. Of course, as the local cattlemen's association is fond of telling me, "there may be 20,000 people, but there are more than 5 million cattle in a good year." Add to this the fact that the area is a semi-desert climatically, and you have some interesting peculiarities. So in honor of the sparsity of people and moisture and the large numbers of cows, pigs, ducks, geese, dogs, and other critters, I give you some of the ways you know you are in the rural mid-west:

  • Restaurants:
Senior discount hours start before 4pm and are over by 6pm.
Close before 9pm.
Close Monday since they were open on Saturday.
Open only for lunch and maybe early supper on Sunday.
  • Your tractor cost more than your house *and* has a better paint job.
  • Your farm is known as the "old previous owner's place" until you die or sell it. Then it's known as your old place.
  • Your neighbor lives 3 miles away and is "too darn close."
  • The mood in the area follows the rainfall totals.
  • No one cares much about the stock market, but commodity prices are posted everywhere.
  • Wildlife doesn't mean an alternative lifestyle.
  • Animal control has to trap skunks as they invade the city and its parks during grub season.
  • Police have been known to chase the deer and antelope back out of town and off the roads before rush hour.
  • Mom did get run over by a deer herd on the way home from Christmas Eve. In town. While I was mayor. (Fortunately, the newspaper didn't get hold of it. I can just see the headlines: Mayor's Mother Attacked by Rampaging Herd of Deer on 10th Ave. on Christmas Eve.)
  • That's a reason to be sure you have a local insurance agent. Imagine trying to tell your agent that a herd of deer ran into the side of your car and jumped on the hood on Christmas Eve - and that no you had nothing to drink.
  • People complain mightily about the 5 minute rush hour.
  • A new stoplight will get more complaints and phone calls to the mayor than any number of potholes on Main Street.
  • It's a disgrace if it takes you five minutes to get to work in the morning. "The city should do something about that" calls abound. Even if it is due to a broken water main closing a thoroughfare.
  • The county is appealing to the Colorado Supreme Court to prohibit driving your sprinkler system across the county roads. And sprinkler systems have the right of way.
  • You see cellular service being touted on the TV by the tornado chase teams. "Reliable enough for us to use as we chase in real time. All our computers and data acquisition systems depend on the reliable cellular internet service from Viaero." Of course, the ads always end with "You shouldn't chase tornadoes."
  • You actually know which tornado chase team it is.
  • Everyone you meet will smile and say "Hi."
  • Everyone will try to help you and will find someone who can if they can't.

Time for Molly and I to resume our regularly scheduled Sunday mope; L has returned to the mountains. Molly hasn't moved from her dejected perch by the garage door since L left hours ago. I figure about noon tomorrow for the recovery to begin.


  1. Oh, I love the mom part!! But I do hope she was okay! So now every time my Gramma complains that she hates that song, I'll say, "Yeah, but it's a true story, Gramma!!!"

    And five minutes to get to work??? Ahhh, that's like a dream come true. Oh, wait. Winning the lottery is a dream come true.

  2. Wow!! I can't imagine it! 20,000 people?? That's like my high school class. (Ok, maybe a LITTLE bit of an exaggeration, but WOW!)

  3. "Everyone you meet will smile and say "Hi.""

    Now, that I like.

  4. Sounds like heaven. I've always dreamt of living in a small town like that...

    You also know you're from a small town when you call 'dinner', 'supper' ;)

  5. It sounds like a small circle of hell!

  6. I love small towns. We live close enough to the big city if we decide we want that excitement but sittin' on the porch and watchin' kids play seems just about perfect to us :)

  7. Oh and ps

    Dinner = Lunch and Supper = Dinner round here ;)

  8. Ahhh... the joys of small town America - the stuff of greatness!!

  9. Are you testing the waters for a joint tour with Jeff Foxworthy?

    : )

  10. The size of the county I'm from is 459 sq miles with a population of 13,087. Really small to the now city where I live (the next county over!) 539 sq miles and a population of 154,460.
    I <3 small towns!


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