Norman Rockwell Small Town Irony

It sometimes seems like everybody wants to live in a Norman Rockwell type of small town, and yet too often those same people also want to have the convenience of downtown Manhattan. They reminisce about Mayberry and the little family businesses run by loving and caring people who know each other. But then they complain about a penny difference in price at a locally owned hardware store when compared to an online juggernaut competitor.

5765.Dixie Restaurant, Reynolds St. (no date)

Part of the experience of living in a Norman Rockwell type of small town, and doing business in one is the often seemingly inconvenient moments when customer service must take a moment longer because it is being lovingly bestowed upon someone else who was ahead of you in line. Sometimes the wait in customer service is caused by how the purveyor knows what they are talking about and is giving genuinely excellent instruction to a customer about how to maximize their value in their purchase. Other times it might just be a cantankerous old fart who is gonna finish his cup of coffee, and “you whippersnappers” need to “hold on a second”.

And while you are in a Rockwellesque moment of slowing down just a bit, or paying a fair price for superlative care and concern for the service a local may give you, you might instead listen to them and learn something. The pace being a tad slower is not only a fact, but it is actually a blessing that creates the pace and feel that are, deep down, the heart of why you longed for the Rockwell moment anyway.

Sad but true, the hurry up and wait mentality of many metropolitan areas is not something one should long for when in small-town rural America. The world has no shortage of places that are fast-paced and convenient. But when in the region of reasonably paced life of rural America, don’t long for the convenience of Manhattan, just move there, and leave Mayberry alone.  Randy Newman / James Taylor song “Our Town” covers it well.