Being Thankful for the Small Things

I don’t usually reflect much on the abundant amenities of where I live. Generally I take the wide open spaces, fresh air, breathtaking sunsets, and a million other things (all of which I deeply cherish) for granted.

But a recent post from Kelley Nuttle over at Rural Housewives, “Why I Love Western Kansas” reminded me of the many benefits that small town and rural living provide that are easy to overlook.

Although Nuttle resides in western Kansas, I think any rural dweller, no matter what part of rural America they may call home, can relate.

Some of the things Nuttle loves about her rural home and writes about are the obvious things like beautiful landscapes, bright stars at night, friendly people, knowing your neighbors, and so on.

But she also writes about the less obvious. Little things that are unique to small towns that our urban counterparts probably can’t imagine.

Little things like tabs, charge accounts, and accepting checks. Most stores and cafes in small towns still honor these. Busy running errands around town and realize too late that you forgot your wallet? No problem, just charge it to your account! In a small town where everyone knows everyone and where everybody lives, tracking someone down for a payment is not hard to do.

Nuttle points out another good thing about rural living. When you are in need, someone is there to give you a hand up. And she also brings up the act of bartering, “I am still trying to get used to borrowing things from people for just a bottle of booze, a meal, or a handshake - knowing that you’ll return the favor one day.”

Speaking of bartering, just the other day I traded home-raised beef (born, fed, and fattened right in my backyard) for farm fresh eggs. I can’t count the times my husband has baled someone's hay, gathered rogue cattle for others, fixed a neighbor's fence, or lent out equipment in exchange for another service or critter.

A few years ago after baling hay for a neighbor, my husband received a pony as payment. Now I can’t say for sure, being as I don’t reside in a city, but I highly doubt an animal would qualify as an acceptable form of payment.

So during this month of thanks, instead of focusing on what our small towns may lack, why not be thankful for all the wonderful small things that only a small town can provide?

Feature image: Not far from the Center's office, Elisha's cattle graze on their pasture. Photo by Wyatt Fraas