Maybe I checked the book out of the SUNY Oneonta Library because I now live in a small town, but I just finished reading, Habits of the Heartland: Small-Town Life in Modern America, by Lyn C. MacGregor, an ethnographer who lived in Viroqua, Wisconsin for nearly 2 years and gathered data about what it’s like to live in a small town (population 4355).
Compared to the small town I live in in upstate New York, I see a few differences. The small towns around here have chronic garage sells. Garage sellers don’t really need directions, because no matter where you drive, there will be a garage sell. And, then there are the patriots who fly large American flags hanging from a crane hoisted high in the air (can only be done in rural America).
Quirky comparisons aside, author Lyn MacGregor, did point out a feature that I too have found in small town living. MacGregor wrote, “People complained about each other, but with a wide variety of ways to work things out, Regulars [residents with a commitment particular to Viroqua] did not treat disagreements as crises that required deliberate community building, mediation, or processing.”
Sometimes, we can just get along.