13 October 2012
Small Town view
It was a fairly warm but breezy July evening with clear, starry skies. Some buddies and I that had grown up together were out and about and up to no good. We had dad's old pick-up truck that I had equipped with speakers you could pull out from behind the seat and place outside on the hood-should you want to play a quick game at the park. We were outside of town on Oak Road where we crossed the legendary "spook bridge". It was an old iron bridge with wood slats for a deck-it had been there for nearly 100 years I suppose, crossing the railroad below.
We stopped and looked back toward town where the railroad led. We were in no hurry, so we broke out a couple six packs of Coke and pulled the speakers out and put them on the hood. The three of us sat on the extra-wide handrail and talked about...whatever, school and girls mostly. We could see the glow of our little home town, bouncing off my old school, and the grain elevator's flag hoisted high on a tower next to the tracks. And wouldn't you know it, Mellencamp's "Small Town" came on the radio. It was a modern Rockwell moment.
Well, two years later they tore the old school down. The grain elevator has changed hands and there is no flag on top of the silo. And just a year ago, after it had been condemned, they brought down the old bridge too. Don't cry for our small town though-since then we've had an Arby's, McDonalds (and now a Burger King), along with two mini-marts open.....at the expense of two (now three, with our family's place) long-established restaurants and a family grocery that had been around since the 1920s.