Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Small Towns Rock

People tend to make wisecracks about living in small towns. Yes, you’ll probably run into someone you know, no matter where you go. It’s especially true in the coastal towns that we call “home” in the summer -- Coos Bay, population around 16,000, and North Bend, about 10,000 strong. But that’s part of the charm. 

Last week, at Books by the Bay, a fellow Second Wednesday book group member and I met up unexpectedly. We sat at our own tables, each of us writing in a notebook, but then had a few moments for pleasant conversation and book recommendations.

While shopping this morning, I ran into Joe. “Why aren’t you at the gym?” he asked as we stood in the store’s wide aisle and greeted each other. The gym, Downtown Health & Fitness Center, is a hub of the community. We not only work out and sweat, but DH&F is the gathering place for groups of people who have become friends -- and if we don’t show up, inquiring minds want to know why. 

The Fitness Center social network extends to outside activities and acts of genuine friendship and kindness. Our hearts are still warmed over the June Zumbathon. It was a highly-successful fund raiser that my friend and fitness center owner Deb Lal and her staff organized to benefit a co-worker who is undergoing cancer treatment.

Things happen in small towns that big-city folks often cannot imagine. My first summer here, I belonged to a writers’ group that met bi-weekly at the North Bend Public Library. I noticed that an upcoming meeting was scheduled for the staff in-service day, when the county libraries would be closed. “No problem,” one of the librarians said. “You can take the key and come on in. Just lock up when you leave.” Handing me the key, she said, “Just bring it back the next day.” 

A few years ago, I took my motorcycle to Honda World to have it checked and the oil changed before a big trip. This dealership sells and services both motorcycles and cars. As the service manager wrote up my order, he said, “You must have some errands to do before your trip. Take that loaner out there,” he said, nodding toward a car standing by in the parking lot, “and we’ll see you in a couple of hours.”  Next thing I knew, I was wheeling off to pick up some last-minute items. Does that sound like your local dealership?

Two friends, Laurie and Marilyn, both have stories of different mechanics who loaned tools to them. Each was sent on her way with a wave and the trust that she would bring the tools back when the job was finished.

Last winter, my friend Rosalie arrived at the post office window to mail a package and realized that she’d changed purses and had no wallet. The clerk said, “I’ll mail it, and you can bring me the postage next time you’re in town.”

Stories of small town big-heartedness no longer make me shake my head in disbelief. They make me smile, and they continue to renew my faith in the goodness of people. 

What’s your “small-town” story, whether it takes place in a large city or in a small town?

~ xoA ~


  1. Lovely post! It is so true. Small towns extend friendship and trust. We like Coos Bay...I can hardly wait to get to Oregon!

  2. Thanks, Kate. Let's be sure to hook up when you get here. xoA

  3. Small towns can be great that way, can't they, Annis? Recently, some of my Facebook friends that I went to high school with started reminiscing about our hometown, Silverdale, Wa. When we were in school, Silverdale had about 10,000 people living there and one stop sign at the lone intersection in town. We wrote about our favorite hang out, BJ's Burgers and Things, and laughed about how shocked we were when a Burger King came in to Silverdale.

    Since my dad has had a business there since 1958, all of the merchants knew him and all we had to say was that we were "Darrel Emel's girls" and we would get a smile and friendly service.

    Unfortunately, Silverdale has grown pell-mell since then and lost that charm . . . except for in our memories.

  4. I love it! Beautiful memories,Bobbi; they keep the Silverdale you all knew alive. Thanks for sharing your story. xoA

  5. In my wee town of Bitely, the postmaster ran out to flag down my car with a package he had forgotten to give me....after a big storm a store owner came out with his chain saw to see if we needed trees out of the way. Our UPS driver backed a long way out of our yard because a turtle was laying eggs in the drive.

  6. Heartwarming, Lois. Just like the T-shirt says: "Lotsa trees, lotsa water, lotsa good people." Thanks for sharing these with us. I love Bitely! xoA

  7. I love this post for the 'people are predominantly good' lesson. It's been a long time since I spent time in an actual small town, but my small neighborhood in L.A. is a very tight community. I know the business owners by name, and they're unfailingly friendly and kind. This post is a great reminder to me that I can carry and view the larger world through that 'small town' lens no matter where my travels take me. Brother and Sisterhood of Man!

  8. Sounds like a wonderful neighborhood, Kim. Thanks for sharing and for your reminder to US. xoA

  9. Last week as I arrived at my hairdressers for my appointment in our small Dutch village, the DHL man arrived with a package for the Salon. Seeing me he said he would be dropping by my house next, "but I'll be here for the next hour" I said - "ok, I'll bring it here then", and he went back out to the truck and brought my packege, too, which I signed for then sat down to get my haircut.
    I love your blog BTW