A few weekends ago, my youngest son Ryan made a road trip from Denver to Cassville with five of his friends from college. None of Ryan's friends had ever been to Cassville and the majority of them hail from larger cities like Chicago, Orange County, Calif., and Denton, Texas. I was worried they might get a little bored, but boy was I wrong.
Ryan's friends reveled in all the fun things a trip to rural Missouri offered - they cut wood and stacked it; got a ride in Mike's airplane as a reward; shot skeet in our backyard; hiked at Roaring River State Park; shot off fireworks; and then stayed up all the night around a bonfire in the field outside our house. When the group crammed into Ryan's Subaru for the 12-hour ride back to Denver, they told Mike and I they had "the best weekend ever."
What we take for granted, these boys fell in love with, and what they enjoyed doing is what makes living in a small town so great. With that theme in mind, we'd like to reprint a list of our favorite "You might be from a small town if . . ." quotes in honor of Ryan's road trip home.
You might be from a small town if . . .
* When someone gets pulled over, the whole town drives by at least twice and everyone else hears it on their scanner.
* It is normal to see an old man riding through town on a riding lawn mower.
* Weekend excitement involves a trip to Walmart.
* You ever went to parties in a pasture, barn or in the middle of a dirt road.
* You know what 4-H and FFA are.
* You never waited long at stoplights but regularly waited 15 minutes at railroad crossings.
* Football coaches suggest you haul hay for the summer to get stronger.
* Directions are given using "the" stoplight as a reference point.
* Your teachers remember when they taught your parents.
* Your letter jacket was worn after your 19th birthday.
* Your summer swimming was done in a pond, creek or gravel pit.
* Your car stays filthy because of the dirt roads, and you will never own a dark vehicle for this reason.
* School gets canceled for sporting events or the opening of trout season.
* A large majority of businesses close during deer season.
* You decide to walk somewhere for exercise and five different people pull over and ask if you need a ride.
* Your only newspaper is a weekly.