We live in a little town of roughly eight hundred people. We're surrounded by cornfields and Amish families....literally. My husband and I both grew up in what would be considered 'the country' but neither of us ever lived it to this extent. To give you a general idea of what I'm talking about, there isn't a Walmart within a twenty five mile radius in any direction. Everywhere we go we know it's going to take about twenty five minutes. That's just the way it is. We're used to it now. We do have a little grocery store about ten minutes away in a neighboring town for those little emergency necessities, and you're left to hope that they carry whatever it is you need...(cough-plain yogurt.) The grocery store provides a wooden pole out front for those who have arrived by horse. (Seriously.) The school our kids attend holds everyone from Kindergarten through the twelfth grade in one building which makes it really nice and convenient that our kids all ride the same bus and have the same school hours regardless of what grade they're in. And as the cliche goes, everyone knows everyone. That might sound like a nightmare to some, but it's actually pretty wonderful, and we love it.
Last week Z started Driving School in a nearby city. I have no idea how many people populate this small city, but I do know that they have a Walmart, a McDonalds, and even a mall. So in our book, it qualifies as a 'Big City.' In reality, if you've ever been to a 'real' big city, this one would probably make you laugh. As you might have guessed, it takes us....oh, let's just say twenty five minutes to get there. (Closer to half an hour by the time you fight the traffic of the 'big city.') His class was four days a week for three hours a night. Granted, we could have dropped him off, driven home, and gone back to get him without much problem but we decided to hang out and see what city life had to offer.
The first night didn't go well. There is only so much time you can spend sitting on the patio furniture in Home Depot with three kids before employees start asking questions. (So much for that friendly hospitality we're used to.) Later in the week we opted to leave the girls at home and make it a date night. We stumbled upon a little bar that had the friendliest waitress we've ever met! We had delicious double cheeseburgers & fries like you find at a carnival and the tables even had bottles of malt vinegar to pour over the top! Yum! Afterward we strolled hand in hand as we listened to music that was piped through speakers that hang from the light poles and looked through the windows of all the little shops. We ended up in the library that's housed in a refurbished hotel from the 1800's that includes a coffee bar that sells chocolates! In the library! Brilliant! We bought a coffee & some chocolate and settled into the lounge by the grand piano and talked and decided that we may very well be cut out for big city life. That was the first week.....
The following week we invited my husband's parents to join us at 'our bar' for dinner, a trip to the super cool library, and a stroll through the streets of what we'd nicknamed 'our town.' My daughter was immediately put off that 'our bar' was actually 'a bar.' (Um...oookay.) We explained that it was also a restaurant with really good food. Unfortunately, it was the really good waitress's night off and we got a really not good waitress in her place. Thankfully the pizza was everything we hoped it would be but while we were eating, a bar fight broke out that ended with a loud kick to a groin, confirming to my daughter (and possibly my in-laws) that we can't be trusted to venture out alone, much less choose our own places to dine.
So with our reputations on the line, we headed to the library to have coffee & chocolates and redeem ourselves.....only to find the coffee bar closed. No big deal, we can still sit in the comfortable chairs by the beautiful grand piano and visit. It was going great until a teenage boy decided to practice his piano lessons and from the sounds of it he'd taken maybe one lesson so far....maybe less. Combine that with the teenage girls that were wrestling loudly in the elevator each time the doors would open on our floor and it wasn't the most relaxing experience. And if you have to go to the bathroom, be prepared to get suspicious looks and a key that's attached to a large metal four pound bookend....these are not trusting librarians. And the library closes at eight-thirty sharp! (Signaled by them turning the lights out and leaving you to follow the red exit signs that light your way). Well, that could have gone better. But at least we get to stroll the quaint streets as we listen to music, right? Wrong. Apparently, the music turns off with the library lights and eight-thirty is the closing time of the whole town. So we strolled the dark quiet streets and tried to peer into dark store windows......until C accidentally rammed her head into the glass of one store window and we took off for fear of tripping a silent alarm.
That evening was nothing like the evening we'd described the previous week and needless to say, our daughters weren't impressed. Even pushing buttons at the corner for the crossing signs eventually got boring. As we headed to the car after Z's final class last night, I think K spoke what we were all thinking. She said, "I'll be glad not to have to come to this big city anymore.....I love being out in the middle of nowhere.".....and I couldn't agree more.