The many perks of living in a small and friendly town

You know you're in a small town when...in this week's Ponoka News Hammertime.

Among the favourite and unforgettable memories of those of us who were lucky enough to be trying to grow up in the (roaring 50s/60s) in and around Ponoka was the fabulous freedom, friendliness, and family opportunities that were always available to everyone.

That same grand tradition of happiness and hospitality has carried on through countless decades in this vibrant community, and here are only a few of the amazing perks to be enjoyed, both then and now.

You know you’re in a small town when

You don’t have to use your turn signal because everyone in each neighbourhood usually knows where you are going, the streets are numbered in order, and if you get lost, just stop and ask and someone will be glad to help us.

If you dial a wrong number you will usually talk for fifteen minutes anyway, which is always a great way to make new friends. In this friendly family environment almost everyone drives carefully and will stop to let someone cross the street, they pick up after their pets and keep the parks clean, and would never hesitate to shovel snow, rake leaves, or whatever for a senior or neighbour who is in need of a little assistance.

Those who may miss a Sunday in church or a day at school or work will be sure to get lots of phone calls and even a few get well cards, because in a close community everybody waves, and when someone asks how we feel, they will usually stop and listen to what you have to say.

Both the biggest and the smallest businesses in town are always usually willing to promote and put up posters for local family events, games, and fundraisers, as well as being year round sponsors and fans.

Our long-standing local weekly newspaper Ponoka News can be picked up at the office or is delivered to your door every Wednesday for free. Over the years the Polka is still the most popular dance on Saturday nights, but that is now slowly changing into a glitzy new era of a faster ‘movement’ that many of us can’t keep up with but can still enjoy.

You could write a cheque on the wrong bank and they would cover it for you, and if we drove into a ditch five miles out in the country the word would usually get back to town before we did. The pick-ups on Main Street usually outnumber the cars three to one, and it’s tough to be out walking for exercise because most cars that pass will offer us a ride, or stop to chat.

We are so lucky because we have lots of pristine walking trails with benches to rest on, and most of our neighbourhood streets are lined with nice big trees and grass boulevards. Our many great sports facilities and fields both inside and out are utilized by all age groups of teams and individuals in a wide range of year round activities that are complemented, supported, and led by countless community volunteers, sponsors, clubs, and organizations.

We have always been so blessed to have so many old and new seasonal traditions, such as garage sales, County Fair, Trade Show, Farmer’s Market, Carol Festival, Vintage Motorcycle Rally, Soap Box Derby, Rifleman’s Rodeo, and so many others where good friends meet and special causes benefit. Our Ponoka Stampede is now 81 years young and has been spurred on by generations of rodeo families, competitors, and a very supportive and generous community.

The rewards of shopping locally in your community includes lots of free parking (no meters) and easy accessibility to all stores, vital services, and recreation and leisure facilities and parks, usually all in one casual trip around town. It is up to each and every citizen to take advantage of all these amazing amenities, while keeping their finger on the pulse and business of the community by offering ongoing support, and never being shy of asking questions and sharing our valuable opinions on the decisions, issues, and elections that will affect the vital future and progress of your town. Have a great week, all of you.