I recently attended an event that was held in a charming little town with a beautiful setting. And by little, I mean it was tiny.
Small towns have an appeal. I’m not sure why, but they do. Maybe it’s the open spaces and easy access. Houston does not offer easy access. When I left my home in Clear Lake, it took more than an hour to get out of town. When I hit the 60-minute mark, the concrete jungle still kept me captive.
In a city the size of Houston, drive times are determined by distance and accessibility. Sometimes the destination isn’t far in terms of miles, but traffic, road repairs, and impediments can make a short distance a lengthy drive. Or maybe the location is many miles across the city, but the traffic is smooth and unhindered. It’s hard to predict, and it often changes while in route.
It has the cumulative effect of mounding irritation, frustration, and stress.
Did somebody say traffic? What traffic?
The town’s people were friendly and unhurried. They had a casual, almost lackadaisical demeanor that seemed to say, “Welcome to our store, I’ll be here if you need anything. You don’t need anything, do you?”
The town didn’t have an MLB team like the Houston Astros, or an NFL team like the Houston Texans or an NBA team like the Houston Rockets. They didn’t have an Astrodome or an NRG Center or Theater District or a ton of other things.
Do you know what they did have? They had clean air, blue skies, and crisp, chilly mornings, and people who were comfortable living in slow-motion. And just in case I forgot to mention it, everything was five minutes away.
However, when the time came to leave, I wasn’t sad but glad to be going home. “Why,” you ask? It is because Dorothy was right; there is no place like home. Home is where I live, love, and work. It’s where I survive and thrive. Houston is my home. Yes, it has smog and smothering summer heat, and months of possibly devastating tropical storms. Houston has ever-present expansion in every direction. Can anyone say, “Urban Sprawl?”
Do I sometimes feel there are too many people? Yes, I do. Harris County, where I reside, has a population of four million with no end in sight. However, when we moved here 23 years ago, I am sure there were many who felt the city was already overcrowded and wished all the new people would move elsewhere.
We stayed anyway.
Small towns and small-town people often possess a quality that is often missing in our urban jungles. Small towns can be lovely to visit and excellent for slowing down, reducing stress, and feeling better.
Thank you, small towns, you have my lasting appreciation.