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Entries in Small Towns (1)


John Mellencamp was right

americangothic.jpgI live in a small town. The population is around 50,000 but I swear they’re counting cows and sheep. Great Falls, Montana is basically a big farm town that feels like a much smaller place. And I like that. I’ve lived all over the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii, but I enjoy being off the radar. Here’s why:

1) We have one homeless man in Great Falls. His name is Larry. He lives on the street by choice, although he worked as an aircraft mechanic before he stopped taking his meds. Now he pushes a shopping cart around that looks like a helicopter. Every winter the downtown merchants get together to buy him a new sleeping bag and a snowmobile suit. And when it’s really cold, an anonymous donor pays for a motel for Larry.

2) My kids walk to school. They meet their friends on the corner and walk en masse. I’m sure a child molester could approach them. But twelve nine-year olds would savagely stab him to death with mechanical pencils.

3) People here are interesting to me. I think it’s because they have lives. A neighbor’s idea of a vacation was a weeklong horseback/camping trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness with her hubby. This was an 80-mile trek where you hang your food in the trees to avoid grizzly bears. Did I mention that my neighbor is 68?

4) I can be on the Missouri River with my fly rod in fifteen minutes. I can be in Glacier National Park in less time than my commute was in Seattle. Or head down to Yellowstone. It’s a different world in the wintertime.

5) I have time to read. Time to write. And time to blog.

The only downside is that it’s hard to find good sushi. Steak, we got. Tako poke? Nada.

Where do you live? Why do you live there? What do you like best about it? And is it reflected in your work?