As I type this, I’m sitting in my car waiting for traffic to clear out of Los Lunas’s McDonald’s parking lot after our town Twinkle Light Parade. Yes, the traffic sucks, but it is a small price to pay for this simple, small-town event.
After Justin and I bought our house in town (in Los Lunas, that is!) seven years ago, it became a tradition for us to walk the mile up to Main Street with our boys to watch this parade on the first Saturday in December every year. It’s great because we get to see all the high school activities and teams, the local car clubs, the fire departments, local churches, and even small businesses. It’s also a time when families and friends get together and renew relationships. This year, we watched the parade with my best friend and her family, as well as her oldest daughter’s boyfriend, her middle daughter’s boyfriend and his family, and our mutual friend and her family. To clarify, that’s 19 people. But, that’s what these community events are for!
Anyway, it reminded me of something I often feel: I am so blessed to live in this community. It’s a town that decorates the entire length of Main Street in school colors to send one of our two high school football teams off to the State finals. It’s the kind of town that decorates the lamp posts along Main Street every year for Christmas. It’s also the kind of place where I can run into the school superintendent, and she asks after me and my parents, because I was in band with her daughter. It’s the kind of place where you can have an entire conversation in a parking lot where one- or both!- of your cars are clearly blocking an exit, and no one complains, and they just go around because they’ve done the EXACT SAME THING. It’s the kind of place where someone’ll drive a John Deere tractor to McDonald’s for lunch, and the kind of place where the grocery store cashiers know you by name.
I could tell stories for hours of how my parents always knew what my brother and I were up to because friends and neighbors would call or text them to let them know. My boys are now learning those same lessons: don’t try and hide it- Mom’ll find out sooner or later because she knows EVERYONE! It makes me feel a little safer just knowing that I have a whole village of friends and family helping me to keep these boys on the straight and narrow.
I know that many people are fascinated with the cosmopolitan life the big city can provide, but I’ll take my small town life any day- even with the minor inconveniences that sometimes arise. But, that’s what a day trip to Albuquerque is for!