Down in the country – a yarn about tire swings and walking

I’ve written about small-town life previously, and told you why I enjoy it so much. Today I got to see some more examples of how life in small towns differs to greatly from life in the big city.

Today, the return of the warmer days after several days of cold and rain prompted me to jump in my car and drive, off on my one of my photo trips. This trip took me to the northwest corner of Shawano County, the tiny village of Mattoon. The reason for my trip was to take photos of its “Great Wall.”

There’s nothing on the Internet about this wall. My only clue as to what it was came from the local chamber of commerce’s visitor guide. It describes a retaining wall with murals that were painted by a local art teacher. There was a tiny picture of the wall, but of course that gave me little to go on. Ergo, I just had to seek it out.

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The Great Wall of Mattoon, in all its glory, with dark storm clouds looming in the background.

Needless to say, it was mission accomplished, and I snapped the photos I needed, and got a few photos of the nearby buildings. Anyhow, getting back to my point, in the midst of my shutter-snapping frenzy, some of the local residents were out walking and riding bicycles. Whole families were out for a stroll. There was little else going on—a few noises from a nearby restaurant—but that was it.

Many who find themselves in small towns love to utter these four words: “There’s nothing to do.” There are no movie theatres, no malls, no arcades and very few businesses to speak of. However, with a little attitude adjustment, you can find plenty to do to pass the time.

I got to see another example of this on the drive back. While traveling on the road, I passed this house on a hill. Hanging from a large tree was a tire hung from a rope. My fellow country kinsmen will recognize I’m talking about a tire swing. One boy was swinging from it while another was running around near the tree, but they paused as my car traveled past, curious expressions on their faces.

That’s another joy of living in the country. You don’t have tens of thousands of people and things rushing by you at light speed. There were a few other vehicles on the road as I drove along, but otherwise the drive had been quiet, and I’m sure those boys must have been wondering who I was and what brought me here.

I definitely want to do some more traveling to small towns as the weather gets warmer and summer approaches. If nothing else, it’s to have a little reminder of why I’m a country boy, through and through.

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