A Grin at the End: It’s what you do in a small town

May 2013 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

Carl Sampson

By Carl Sampson

I don’t know how many rock music fans are among the readers of this column, but I’d bet there are one or two. Or ten thousand.

I was thinking the other day about John Cougar Mellencamp as I attended a luncheon sponsored by the Stayton/Sublimity Chamber of Commerce.

Mellencamp wrote a song called “Small Town.” Its lyrics absolutely reflect how I feel about life in a small town.

Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Prob’ly die in a small town
Oh, those small communities

The purpose of the luncheon, which was at the Foothills Church, was to honor some folks for being, well, for being good people. They do what you do in a small town — lend a helping hand where it’s needed, step forward to volunteer to be on the city council, school board or wherever you’re needed.

All my friends are so small town
My parents live in the same small town
My job is so small town
Provides little opportunity

The folks who were honored at the luncheon all seem to have found plenty of opportunity but a different type. The pay for volunteering is even more than their “regular” paycheck, they said time and again during the luncheon.

Educated in a small town
Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another boring romantic that’s me

Is it romantic to believe that you can make a difference in your community? I don’t think so. I think it’s what you do in a town where people look out for one another.

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be

I’ve lived in a some big cities, but nothing beats a small town. A trip to the grocery store can mean running into a friend or catching up on the “real” news about what’s going on in the community. There’s just no point in trying to keep up appearances, because most of the folks have known you for years and know you for who you are, not what you do.

Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look who’s in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, and that’s good enough for me

I’m sure a big city has things to offer that a small town doesn’t but I’m always glad to back home, to be around the people I really like, not the people I have to be around.

Well I was born in a small town.
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in this small town
And that’s prob’ly where they’ll bury me

All things considered that wouldn’t be a bad way to go. In a small town.

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