We’re not Mayberry RFD but we’re close…

15 May

We're not Mayberry RFD but we're close...

When I was growing up one of the shows that we watched at our home was Mayberry RFD.  We grew up with Aunt Bea, Sheriff Andy, Barney Fife, Opie and the rest of the gang.  The show was based in a small town and focuses on small town life and its individual characters.  

We live in a small town in central Minnesota, population 400.  We own a used car sales and service garage.  Each day there is a stream of men that wander through our shop and chat with  the mechanics as they go about their work.  They are our own cast of characters.  One day one of the older retired men asked my husband if he minded them stopping in the shop to talk and my husband’s response to him was “Some men have to go the wise man for wisdom, but I can stay here and they bring the wisdom to me!”  

In our local hardware store the men gather each morning around a small round table with their coffee cups and discuss all the local and world problems.  Our local librarian calls it “The Think Tank”.   Rainy days usually have more participants than usual because the farmers are not out in their fields.  

We have older drivers in our town.  Everyone knows who they are and to give them more room.  Some probably shouldn’t be driving anymore but no one wants to take away their freedom.  One man is 90 years old and drives from our town 20 miles each day to see his wife in the nursing home in the next town.  They’ve been married for over 50 years.  One older man in our town doesn’t drive anymore but he walks around town daily with his walker.  You have to watch out for him because without any notice or looking he will walk right in front of your car to cross the road and usually never at a corner where you might expect it. 

I used to be the city clerk in town for ten years.  Part of my duties were to oversee the election process in town.  I had been involved in the election process before I became city clerk when my dad was in the Mn House of Representative for two years and the MN Senate for twelve years.  I had been a poll observer as we collected the voting tallies and brought them back to the campaign headquarters.  I was really surprised at the voter turnout in our small town.  It was nearly 90%  of the registered voters.  The people would line up outside the polling place and wait for it to open.  It was a regular social event in town.  Some planned to vote first thing in the morning, some voted before lunch or after, others voted on their way home from work or came to vote after supper but everyone voted. 

Our small town has many churches.  On Main Street there are three churches,  one church is one block off Main Street, one a mile out-of-town and one about 3 miles out-of-town.  Every one knows who belongs at which church and if you should happen to appear at a church different that the one you attend regularly you will be the talk of the town until the next Sunday and everyone sees if it was just for one Sunday or you are making a change for good. 

We have our local parades, community theatre, and community choir.  The town’s people always line the streets or auditorium chairs to cheer on our local talents.


Posted by on May 15, 2010 in Life Happens



4 responses to “We’re not Mayberry RFD but we’re close…

  1. Thomas Stazyk

    May 15, 2010 at 3:02 am

    What a great place! Too bad that sense of community is getting increasingly rare.

    • flyinggma

      May 15, 2010 at 8:32 am

      I enjoy living here and it has been a great place to raise our four kids. It wasn’t our original plan when we got married to live here. We were going to seek our fortunes in the big city but plans changed and here we are 27 years later. I think we would have disappeared into our individual lives without getting involved in our community if we would have lived in the city. In a small town there are only so many people to do all that needs to be done unlike the city and everyone knows whether or not you are doing your part.

      One aspect of small town school that I have appreciated is the multiple opportunities that students have to try new things. In the large school that I graduated from in the Twin Cities only the best could participate in the different activities and sports. There were tryouts for everything. If you were in band you probably weren’t in basketball. In a small school you can participate in just about anything for which you have interest and time. They need students to be involved in more than one thing for all the different programs to exist.

  2. Linda Anderson

    May 17, 2010 at 6:46 am

    Ah, small town life! Our town is bigger than 400, more like 3,000, but it’s small enough that we know a LOT of folks. Some make it their business to know everyone else’s and then make sure they share it with each listening ear! But all in all, our town is a great place. Although we live 8 miles out of town, we attend church in town and it’s a bee-hive of activity, so we are there frequently. The local paper comes out each Wednesday and of course, first thing we check is the obituary page. Then we read the front page, check on the listed sheriff’s record, (one never knows who may have gotten a speeding ticket or called in a barking dog), then onto the grocery ad. It was a wonderful place for my husband to grow up and he is full of stories of the “old days” when kids roamed the town until the street lights came on and had to high-tail it for home! Our kids grew up in the same town, attending school in town and involved in all kinds of activities. I drove a school bus for 9 years, so knew a lot of families. We too have parades and concerts, shows and a local movie theater. Although I work 40 miles from town, I always feel at home in our own community! Thanks for making me think about small town life and appreciate it once more!

    • flyinggma

      May 17, 2010 at 9:44 am

      That is too funny about the order that the paper is read. I’m not a big reader of obituaries but I know several people that it is the first thing that they read. We get our local paper each Thursday and it is called the Hometown News. Local people submit articles and photos for each weeks paper. Its always fun to see what is in there.

      My husband also has many stories about the “old days” to tell about our town. There are so many different characters that have lived in this town over its life. There are stories about why the Main Street has a crook in it and who has climbed to the top of the watertower or “couched” someone. For those of you who don’t know what “couching” is, someone leaves a couch in the middle of your yard and it gets passed from one yard to the next in the middle of the night. One couching involved setting up a livingroom complete with TV and lamp in someone’s yard for them to discover in the morning.


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