Small town heart here to stay through travels

MIRANDA BROOKWELL/Youth Correspondent

When I think of my small town life versus my big city travels, sometimes Ponoka seems rather boring and mundane, so I’m always glad to have experiences and memories that make me realize just how much I love it here.

Sure, I’ve been to Munich and Rome, and seen big city lights and millions of people, but the most frustrating thing about those places is the lack of three things: my friends, my vehicle, and Tim Hortons. Travelling is wonderful, but sometimes it’s better to have a night of adventures at home. I love being from a small town. There’s something really great about having almost all of your friends in walking distance. But that’s not the only thing I like. Here are some more examples.

I like legitimately knowing my neighbours and my hairstylist. It is a true privilege to know not just their names, but their lives. I don’t think any of us realize how lucky we are to be so familiar with so many people in our community. It’s something that we all take for granted sometimes. I know I’ll miss it when I move off to some bustling city for school.

I like driving a carful of friends to a 24- hour Tim Hortons and seeing even more people that we know. I like curling up in a booth, chatting, and telling stupid jokes for at least an hour with good company. At times, those “Well, there’s nothing else to do” moments can make for a truly memorable evening.

I like being able to walk around town with my friends without worrying about getting lost or hit by a car on a busy freeway. Especially in the summertime, when slushy drinks become my favourite food group. I could spend all day away from home, just walking around and relaxing.

I like being from the Prairies. I like climbing hay bales and riding horses and being covered in mud. When it rained so much last summer that almost every field was flooded, Danni Richardson, Tynille Clemmer and I took the dirt bike out to the deepest part, jumped off the fence and swam, not a care in the world of what we might be stepping on. Try doing that in the thriving metropolis of Edmonton.

I like knowing everyone in my classes at school. It’s nice to look around the room and realize that many of the people there have known me since I was five years old. It takes a village to raise a child, and many of us have been lucky enough to grow up alongside each other.

I like doing random and occasionally stupid things on a whim. Last weekend we went rollerblading in the dead of night, just because we felt like it. It was dark out and drizzling rain, but it was awesome. It’s also a common misconception that 17-yearolds don’t enjoy playgrounds. Everyone likes playgrounds — at any hour of the day.

I know that once I graduate I’ll be itching to leave Ponoka behind. I’ll hunger for new adventures in a place full of brand new people. But I can assure you that for now, it’s my haven. My safe, familiar place full of people I love and good memories.

So the next time you think about how lame your small town life seems, just remember this: “Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.” — John Ed Pearce