A Big Hug

Granny (Looney Tunes)

Granny (Looney Tunes) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am as guilty as anyone else. I love the idea of “community” and love living in a small town, but do I really contribute to the feeling of “community”? To me, the term is not geographical, but emotional —and can be, at its best (pardon the sentiment) “like a big hug”. Author, Ferenc Matte reminded me of the importance of “community”, in his book, “The Wisdom of Tuscany”. Fortunately, we do not have to travel so far afield to attain the close-knit feeling of belonging.

At its core community has the word commune, which  in essence means connect. I do not think I do enough to “connect” to my neighbours, or to the community at large. Matte makes the point that:

“If we all love such small towns—and surveys say that seven out of ten of us would live there if we could—why then are they ever more difficult to find? The demand is there, so where is the supply? When all it takes is a few good-natured people—a couple to teach school, a few to run the stores, some to farm the land, some to mend the sick and a bar to tend the healthy—then why isn’t there such a town behind every tree?” He ends his tiny diatribe by saying “How did it happen that things no one wants are burying us all, while the simple town we dream of we can seldom find.”

Matte, of course simplifies what a small town is all about, but he has a point. If we want a sense of community, then we should strive to achieve that goal. He mourns the loss of neighbourhood saying that its death “snuck up on us slowly”, with a little “thoughtlessness here, a tiny neglect there, a bit too much ambition, a little too much greed.” He misses Granny on the front porch reminding us of “simpler times, better days.”

About a week and a half ago, I attended an event which felt a bit like a “big hug”. I was there, not as a reporter, but someone enjoying an evening of books, wine, music, and food. It was called En Vino Novellus, which translated means “in wine there are stories”.  It featured four local authors, some local musicians, wine paired to the books that were featured by a local sommelier, and an appetizer presented by a local butcher shop. Note the word local—they were all a part of our community, and came together to present an evening enjoyed by an overflowing crowd of like-minded people.

My husband said that the evening personified what community is all about. He said that he wants to live in a place that can provide wonderful cultural events. Events that the community can get behind.

Me too.

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I really miss that small town sense of community where everyone knows you, your sister, your brother, your kids…..love my city but I have fond memories of small town life.

  2. I had that type of community when I was growing up, but the community has long since changed…it has gotten much larger. Once I grew older, and as circumstances were at the time, I moved to another town. It is a medium sized town and does not have the small town flavor that you spoke of. However, most of the people here seem to be friendly enough

    • I have heard many people who live in larger towns and cities say that they find a community within their city to call their own – I guess cities are really just a lot of mini towns put together
      Friendly is the beginning of community – but I think when we adopt a new one it is a lot of work to create connectedness

  3. I grew up in a place where everyone knew everyone. There was a strong sense of community when something happened. Everyone pulled together. There’s also the flip side of everyone knowing what everyone else is doing! It is ingrained in me though and the places I’ve always be attracted to are those “small town” places. I think it’s more difficult now because so many people work so much and everyone’s at a faster pace now. Still, those places do exist and like you, I am drawn to them. Great post, Lou Ann.

  4. When I attended church, there was a real sense of “community” –so I guess it can be found anywhere. We are drawn to what we remember as being wonderful, but as you say–there is most definitely a flip side

  5. I love living in a small community just outside of a small town and knowing that you ca call on a neighbour for help and friendship when it’s needed. That said, I think communities crop up anywhere.. even WordPress has provided a community of sorts.

  6. I like the WordPress community some of us have formed – and you are right, communities crop up anywhere
    You know I think you and I only live hours away

  7. great post. for years my brother,s porch was the community center so to speak in our neighborhood. that’s how denise and i met. people would just wander by and come up on the porch and stay for hours. once winter came people didn’t see much of each other but everyone knew they could come to craig’s for new years eve. some years it was great fun other years a bit boring but that’s what community is i think, more like a family.

    • community is like a family – my parents’ had a front porch where we would sit and people would just drop by–it was great–I really miss that

  8. I grew up in a small farming town, where my mom still lives in the house where I was raised. It is great to go back and visit but as a child I did not enjoy the smallness. I currently live in a small town and thought I would love it but I am finding that I miss the bustle and variety of big city living (I spent 10 years in Phoenix.)

  9. I think you can have “community” anywhere you live, and you do not need to be in a small town to have that “hug”. I like hustle and bustle too – loved it when I was younger–and mass transportation, as I do not like to drive much

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