Living in a small town

Life in a small town is quiet… I suppose that it could even be considered serene by some. Life goes at a little slower pace and you tend to know a lot more people in town than if you were in a big city.

I don’t live in a small town and I’m not sure that I really want to. I like being close to activity and all the opportunities that being near a city has to offer. But every once in a while we like to get away from our lives at home, get away and slow down for a bit (no internet or 3G there), and of course visit family.

The thumb region in Mid-Michigan is full of these kinds of small towns. They’ve been around for years and the families that live there have been there for generations. My family is one of those… my dad grew up in Caseville and we end up in the area every summer.

Farming is a way of life there and beans are big! Navy & soy beans of course and Bayside Best is one of the largest distributers around. As you drive through the countryside there are huge fields full of beans that you can see across for miles and the nearest farm a tiny speck in the distance.

bayside beans corn
 The sad part is that so many of these small towns are dying out. They are over 30 or 40 minutes to the nearest city and have little to no industrial type work there, very few businesses, and their downtown areas are grim. But once they were busy and bustling until times changed and now all that’s left are the buildings and ghosts reminding of us of the past.

fire dept downtown river
Like I said, farming is big in this region of Michigan. Aside from beans we produce a whole lot of sugar beets and when I say a lot I mean 29 – 34 tons for the growing season and the beets can handle all problems of nature – drought or damp, both of which are pretty common here (especially this summer).

Michigan Sugar company processes all the sugar beets grown in Michigan in four different factories all in small, mid-Michigan towns. Towards the end of summer (around August this year) you can see the truckers hauling loads of beets into town and then dumping them in huge piles to wait for processing. Just a little side note… the smell coming from the plant it really gross… all you can smell is manure! When you walk by the plant though you can smell the beets which is significantly better than the manure smell.

Mi sugar 20120919-205712.jpg20120919-205702.jpg
My parents like it there in the small town. They go there every year and stay all summer long just like so many other retired couples looking to get away. They relax, play bingo, tell stories around the campfire at night, and fish. Oh yes… most of these small towns are right on the Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron) and fishing is almost a national past time for some.

train tracks

What about you? Do you live in a small town? What’s it like there?