Why I Love Small Towns by Joan Reeves

The Trouble with Love by Joan ReevesWe have a place in the Texas Hill Country where we spend most weekends. It’s far away from just about everything. In fact, the closest small town of 700 people is about 10 miles away.

Perhaps the fact that I grew up in a small town explains my affection for those little enclaves of eccentrics. Sometimes, small town idiosyncrasies can stop a city dweller in his tracks, but I think they’re charming and endlessly entertaining.

In my contemporary romances, I return again and again to the small town setting. In my Texas One Night Stand series, both The Trouble With Love (Book 1, Texas One Night Stands) and Romeo and Judy Anne (Book 2, Texas One Night Stands) are set in small towns in the fictional Alton County, located in Texas of course.

Life in rural and small town America compared to city life has more differences than mere population statistics.

Business Is Different

In most small towns in Texas, business is conducted Monday through Friday, usually from 9 to 5, except at the grocery story which closes at 8pm at night. Offices are not open on Saturdays, and nothing but the grocery store is open on Sunday.

When you walk into a place of business in a small town, everyone smiles at you and seems pleased to assist you. When you make a purchase, the employee smiles and says: “I hope you have a wonderful day.” The smile actually seems sincere and what they say sounds genuine and heartfelt.

Popular Attractions

Church is the big attraction on Sunday. Every church—and there are usually several—has a full parking lot, and nearby streets are lined with cars and pickups too.

Water towers are often picturesque with written sentiments regarding high school loyalties or state championships, no matter how long ago or how obscure.

Towns are proud of their local high school athletic teams. If a regional or state championship was won, a sign attesting to that fact will be found somewhere in the town regardless of how many years have passed since the victory.

Old men pass the time of day sitting on park benches in front of stores. They whittle, not any kind of carving or sculpture, but just a stick they shave with a sharp pocket knife. They talk and whittle, with the pile of wood shavings growing in front of them. Some of the men chew tobacco or dip snuff. You can recognize them by the spit cup they carry around.

I’ll be returning to fictional Alton County this summer when I write book three of the Texas series, Forever Starts Tonight.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep people watching in the small towns I visit because I confess that the slower pace is enormously appealing to someone like me who has lived most of her adult life at warp speed.

(Joan Reeves writes funny, sexy Romance Novels. For your consideration, get your flirt on with any of her novels, available at most ebook sellers, with audio editions available at Audible and iTunes. Joan publishes Writing Hacks, a free subscription newsletter for writers, and I LUV Books, a free subscription newsletter for readers. Visit Joan Online at SlingWords, her website, or follow on Twitter @JoanReeves and Facebook.

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About Joan Reeves

Joan Reeves is a NY Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. She lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Sign up for Joan's mailing list: http://eepurl.com/Yk61n and visit her at JoanReeves.com and her blog http://SlingWords.blogspot.com.
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9 Responses to Why I Love Small Towns by Joan Reeves

  1. leighmorgan1 says:

    I grew up in a small town too. Couldn’t wait to leave and where did I return…you guessed it. There’s a pull to town life that folks either get or they don’t. I love the city; the museums, art museums, restaurants, and festivals (in Milwaukee we have several at the Lake Front, two of which are the largest of their kind in the world~Summer Fest & Irish Fest), yet the allure of small town life is undeniable. Great post, thanks!

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    • Joan Reeves says:

      Thanks, Leigh. I think that “can’t wait to leave” affects all who grow up in small towns. Perhaps it’s because we’re young that we don’t recognize the charm in the familiar or maybe it’s just that it’s the familiar. But many return when they’re grown–usually when they have kids of their own.

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  2. susanrhughes says:

    We have some lovely small towns here in Ontario. I love the little shops, churches and historic buildings, and even the old cemeteries.

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    • Joan Reeves says:

      Hello, Susan. Yes to all you said especially old cemeteries that are such a treasure. One can see cultural changes from one generation to another. Epitaphs are intriguing too. It’s a shame epitaphs aren’t used much except for generic ones.

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  3. E. Ayers says:

    Seem I’ve lived in more small towns than big ones. Most of them were on the outskirts of a big city. I’m in a semi-small town now. They know who I am. It’s got its pluses and minuses. I’m in a metropolis, but where I live in the downtown is really a small town. You know the checkers and managers at the grocery store. You know the folks at the department store. And you chat with your city councilman over coffee at Starbucks. I like living here!

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    • Joan Reeves says:

      Starbucks? *LOL* That’s not a small town if it has a Starbucks. But I agree with your point about knowing the people who work in the offices and stores. It’s a nice feeling to know the world around you.

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  4. monarisk says:

    I have always lived in big cities, but I enjoyed visiting picturesque small towns in Maine, Massachusetts, or Ohio. I noticed that the historical small towns of Germany and France were built around a main plaza with the church on one side and the lord’s castle or City Hall across.

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  5. Carol says:

    Over time, I’ve learned to appreciate small towns. I didn’t feel that way while I lived in one, actually several. I couldn’t wait to get away. But after the bright lights dimmed and the night late parties became a bore, I longed for small town life once again. Though we’re twenty-plus miles from a huge city, it isn’t far enough now. My cabin, by a stream in the mountains, awaits. Great post!

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