Before attending college and really being outside of my small town of Cochran, Georgia, I always thought that small towns were far, far different from big cities.
However, after deep investigation, I’ve discovered that these massive areas really weren’t all that different from small communities.
The biggest difference was simply the fact that “novelties” to them were things we’ve had or have been doing for quite some time. What is now trendy outside our county lines is (and has been for a long time) a way of life for those living within.
Therefore, here are 5 things small towns did first. Now, I won’t say better, but, well, I’ll let you decide for yourself.
1. Sign Language
Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself.
Just hop in your car, drive through a rural downtown and, with your steering wheel hand, raise two fingers- your index and middle finger (make sure you don’t forget the index!) as you meet another car in the road.
The woman in the other vehicle will, ideally, raise her two fingers in return.
The two-finger raise is a beautiful sign of recognition. It’s simple, yet elegant. An acknowledgement that exists, yet is not overly excited or informal.
Sign language, folks. Your little cities did it first.
2. Compost Piles
I LOVE that people in bigger cities are on a recycling kick- I really do. However, celebrities were not the first ones to recognize that all that food waste is actually food wealth.
If you are anything like my family, you live in the “country” in your small town, and you are surrounded by fields. There is no trash pickup outside of the city limits and wantonly tossing out old food does not cut it.
That is simply an open invitation to all feral beasts within a 100 miles radius.
Therefore, we have “scrap buckets.” Into this receptacle goes orange rinds, banana peels, eggshells, unused portions of onions, and any old food you have laying around. After loading this food into this receptacle, the house DD (designated disposer) will take this receptacle and empty it on a trash pile, compost pile, or edge of a field.
Give it a few months, and, voila, this assortment of delicacies will have turned into grade A slosh that will fertilize your tomatoes for the growing season to come
There has been an uptick of “rustic” in the past few years, and I’m here for it. If you haven’t heard of this trend, imagine not painting your house for 50 years, and you’ll understand the look.
This obsession leaves me scratching my head a bit, since, once again, it is simply just a byproduct of living in a small, rural community.
The “farmhouse” style you have pinned to your Pinterest board stemmed, quite literally, from a house that sat (you guessed it!) on a farm.
The lovely rustic-esque paint job on the real farmhouses you see was bred from the reality that everyone was too busy working on said farm to paint the darn thing.
4. Locally Grown Products: “Knowing Where your food comes from”
Gardening is now the “in” thing to do, and some are picking it up as a hobby as they garden their lemon trees on their patios.
However, humans known as “farmers” have actually grown food for a really long time, even before you could slap a hashtag on it and name your blog “The Great Gardener.”
“Knowing where your food comes from” is the trend now, but let’s not forsake the fact that this tradition, this way of life is rooted in rural culture.
Furthermore, canned products and anything homemade is now a novelty. Once upon a time, it was done in preparation for a long winter, and this preservation provided food until the garden was green and growing again.
This trend has resulted in large city inhabitants’ willingness to shell out big bucks for canned goods. $10 for a half a quart jar of homemade jelly? That’s cash money I can appreciate!
Many assume that, because smaller towns and rural communities are just that tinier and statistically more conservative, they do not have clubs.
The fact that the masses are unaware of the fact that clubs began in small towns is a travesty.
Have you never heard of pledging the famous four H’s- head, heart, hands, and health?! 4-H Club was around long before those big-shot Buckhead clubs.
Even the lingo of clubs began in small communities…
- “Showing out in the club” began in small towns- this simply meant that you became a Master 4-Her.
- “Dancing in the club?” It all began with how you tried to shimmy your hog around the rink at the fair when you went to show your livestock
Social media to advertise that you’ve been clubbin’? Yep, it’s a small town thing, too. The best form of social media was, for a long time, the city newspaper. Facebook collages have nothing on the numerous celebratory pictures painted up on the back page of the paper.
In a world that screams BIG CITY, let us never forget those traditions birthed in small towns. Smaller communities deserve their share of the fame and appreciation! So, to all those rural communities like mine- keep doing what you’re doing. It’ll be a hashtag one day!