Shelli Mader
Scott City, Kan.

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November 25, 2013
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Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 11-23-13

My family and I visited our old hometown, Colorado Springs, Colo., a few weeks ago to celebrate our son’s fifth birthday. He wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese like his sister did a couple of years ago, so the Springs was our closest option.

The timing was good for us to take a trip to the Springs because our future in Kansas is a bit up in the air. My husband may transfer jobs next summer, so we wanted the opportunity to look around and talk about the possibility of moving back to Colorado. We both love so many things about the Springs — the shopping (my husband just enjoys all the pawn shops, but I don’t miss them at all), good friends, our old church, the closer proximity to my parents’ and brother’s houses, and the beautiful mountain views. Anyone who lives in or has visited the city knows that the place has so much to offer.

As I spent the weekend thinking about the possibility of raising our kids in the big city though, I started to realize just how thankful I am for my current small town life.

Scott City is a close-knit community that seems to have a vested interest in the people living there. If there is a tragedy or an illness, the city rallies together to help out. In the year and a half that we’ve lived here, we’ve been to numerous fundraising dinners and raffles for things like a teacher’s husband cancer fight, a sick school child and local missionaries.

Small towns also have big support for their schools. We have just one elementary school, middle school and high school, so the town comes out in droves for school events. Our local paper celebrates students’ achievements, sports and local happenings because those things are what makes news here.

The fair is a big deal in small towns too. In a large town, there are so many entertainment options that the fair gets overlooked. Not here. Every night of the fair is like a town family reunion.

And though there is crime everywhere, most small towns are generally safer than big cities. Our pickup got stolen right out of our driveway when we lived in the Springs. I know the same thing could happen here, but it is far less likely. I hate to admit all of the times I’ve left my purse unlocked in my pickup (I really need to break that habit!).

When we lived in the Springs, I made an effort to get to know my neighbors, but most people kept to themselves. In Scott City, I go to church with nearly half of the people who live on my street and I know most of the others. Here neighbors look out for each other and notice what is happening around town. On our recent trip to the Springs, I got a text from a neighbor that lived halfway down the street. She and her kids were driving by our house and saw our dog wandering around in the front yard. They noticed our pickup was gone, so they put the dog back in the yard. Something like that wouldn’t have happened on my street in Colorado Springs, no one would have probably even know it was my dog.

While I know small towns have their drawbacks — limited shopping and local gossip are a few of the things — the benefits of raising a family in a small town definitely outweigh the cost.

Though I don’t know where life will lead my family in these next six months, I hope that we get to live in a small town (well, actually in the country outside a small town if I can be picky).

But no matter what, one thing life has taught me is that being happy is mostly a result of choosing to be content wherever you are at. And this November, that is one lesson I am thankful for learning. ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Dec 5, 2013 03:34PM Published Dec 30, 2013 01:51PM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.