Conklin: Happens only in a small town


“Only in a small Town” is a phrase I have found myself using often in the years I have lived in Ashley. It all started years ago when I was listening to the car radio on my way home from work. The song being played was a very beautiful piece of Christmas music.

I wanted to find out who was performing, so I sat in my car and listened until the song ended. It was just 5 p.m. when the announcer said it was the “Trans Siberian Orchestra” and the title had the word canon in it. Since it wasn’t totally dark yet, I decided to walk over to the library and ask if anyone there had ever heard of it. Luckily, one of the librarians said she had it on a CD at her house. And, if I wanted to walk home with her right then, she would loan it to me.

So, no sooner had she said those words, than we were on our way to her house to get it. I was back home by 6 p.m. and was listening to it again. So, in just one hour’s time, I had heard it, found someone who had it, borrowed it, and was playing it in my own home. That’s when I said to myself, “Only in a Small Town.”

Another time when I used that phrase, is when I was talking to a friend who lived around the corner. She was thinking of selling her house. We ended up discussing the good points of living in a small town. Her house was just down the driveway from the elementary school.

She had enjoyed having her children get to walk to school during their elementary years. Since the levy recently passed (by 2 votes), there will be a new elementary school there by 2018. Then, we got to talking about other conveniences in a small town.

For instance, there is a swimming pool, tennis courts and a shelter house within walking distance. Add to that, we have a wonderful public library within two blocks of both our homes.

Later, I started thinking of other places I can walk to from my house. On my daily walks, I passed the Post Office, two pizza places, three churches and my sister’s house. And we have a Dollar General which has come in handy for a lot of necessary items while running a household.

If we need a tire fixed, or a motorcycle tuned up, you can leave them at either of the shops and walk back home. We are pleased to have our own EMS station at the western edge of the village. And I don’t want to forget the playground at the school that also has a softball diamond for summer league games.

My favorite thing to do when I am out walking on a bitter cold windy day, is to stop in at the Laundromat. For a quarter, I can put my coat, scarf and gloves in one of the dryers. I do that to warm them up so they will warm me up for the last part of my walk back home.

If you have cause to want to talk to our mayor, his office is just around the corner of that same block. While there, you might run into our village policeman who’s on duty. And by the 15th of each month, you can walk there to pay your water bill. And, we have a brand new fire station located at the northern edge of our small town.

When I see the long rows and rows of houses in some subdivisions, I wonder how kids can ever go anywhere without being driven in a car. Or, with all the condos that look just alike, how would they be able to find a friend’s house if they aren’t positive of the house number? And it’s very convenient to have a store within walking distance when you need a quart of milk or a loaf of bread.

One of the subdivisions in Delaware, up near the fairgrounds, is a 10-acre piece of land that years ago was subdivided into 44 building lots. That 10 acres includes all the streets, as well.

Another place that is within walking distance of my home is the Villa. It is a government-subsidized apartment complex for senior citizens. At the moment, plans are being made to build new apartments on that same land. There are times a visiting nurse comes to check residents’ blood pressure as well as offering flu shots. We also have a newly opened restaurant in town, as well as a drive-thru, and a place to get ice cream cones on hot summer days, or a hot breakfast on winter mornings, since it’s open year-round.

A couple of Easters ago, when I walked past our church, I saw an artificial bunny rabbit sitting in front of the front door. He looked familiar because I had seen lots of them placed all around our library. So I stopped at the library and told the librarian that one of her bunnies got loose and was down sitting on the front step of the church, if she wanted to rescue him.

That’s just another example of things that can happen in a small town.

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

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