Since graduating from college, my day-time hours have been spent making the transition from school to the world of work. My evenings, on the other hand, are spent with people I’ve recently met.
I have been a friend with this one girl and her boyfriend since high school, but all his friends are new to me. They are similar to the people I usually surround myself with—funny, outgoing, like to have a good time—except for one characteristic. They are country boys.
Before I befriended my farming friends, I had little knowledge of the rural life in my hometown, Grove City, or of surrounding cities. I’ve grown up in housing developments, not fields.
Little did I know, for most who claim Harrisburg or the surrounding Grove City land as home, farming was the norm. I used to think the word “farm” was only associated with old men who milked cows. I had no idea it was so involved or so interesting.
I also didn’t know about the different social activities associated with living in the country. In my little housing-development world, we go to the movies and Applebee’s on a slow night, not out back to the creek for a swim or a bonfire.
Something I also was unaware of is how many stars are visible by the human eye. Streetlamps and porch lights do more damage to the line of vision of a nighttime sky then I realized. Not only does it look like a planetarium out by that creek, but there are also so many lightning bugs it looks as if I’m in a stadium full of eager photographers.
Along the same vein, I love the quaint sense of home I get whenever I drive through a small town to get to my destination. After covering an event at the Madison County Fair in London earlier this month, I was driving home down Route 665. All of a sudden it looked like it was snowing, but I quickly realized the “snow” was actually bugs. On went my windshield wipers.
You just can’t get that kind of scene in my everyday world. Driving through Grove City now is like driving through any other suburban town in the country. All the stores are the same from city to city, and although community leaders of small towns are vying for big chain businesses, I say they don’t need them. I know these businesses open up the opportunity for economic growth and jobs, but it takes away from the unique look and feel of the town.
But the grass is always greener on the other side. Some who live in a beautiful town like London probably can’t wait until they don’t have to drive 30 minutes to get to the big shopping meccas. But I get excited to drive in the country to get away from all the noise and lights.
I hope that as London grows, those who move into the perfect little subdivisions and who love hitting up Applebee’s three times a week don’t forget the unequaled charm of small-town living.
Christina Radi is a staff writer for the Madison Messenger.