Thursday, July 26, 2007

Life in a Small Town

It’s been interesting moving to a small Midwest town. Here’s a couple of examples. A week or so ago we drove almost an hour to the nearest Krispy Kreme. Lest you think that’s quite a trip for donuts, the nearest chain grocery store is 35 minutes away, WalMart 30 minutes, so really we’re used to driving to get places. Except the library. It’s only a mile away.

So we’re driving to Krispy Kreme after church on Sunday, and I noticed something I hadn’t seen anywhere else I’d lived. Graveyards everywhere. I must have passed a dozen in that hour drive. Just plopped along the side of the road. Now I happen to like graveyards and one of these days want to go exploring and find out who those people are that are buried there. But it’s such a different thing from the large, gated cemeteries in the West, set on the outskirts of town.

Being a writer, I of course pay more attention to language than most people. Some of the differences I expected, like calling soda “pop.” It’s even printed on the grocery store aisles that way.

The other is more unexpected. I’ve had a few people say I wasn’t from around here because of my accent. Um, what accent? I’m from California. We don’t have accents. It’s the rest of y’all that do.

One Sunday at church I told Michelle I’d go get the kids and meet her back in the foyer. A lady turned to me and said, “You’re not from around here, are you?”

I said no, why? She told me it was because I said ‘foy-yay’ not ‘foy-yer’ and she has a friend from California that says it that way too. Obviously, her friend from California says it right.

I think I need to go take some pics in the graveyard. I’m sure my kids and the locals will think I’m nuts.

6 comments:

Jim Sanders said...

An hour's drive to a Krispy Kreme would be tough. But the real question is, how far do you have to drive to a Starbucks? :)

Jennifer Tiszai said...

40 minutes. And I was so bummed because last night I stopped by there since I was out that way grocery shopping. But they are in the Eastern time zone and had already closed. I wanted to cry.

Heather said...

Do all writers like cemeteries? Or is it just the Misfits? I used to study perched on a headstone in college. Got quite a few stares. And thought my first novel sucks, I want to work in those characters and their cemetery tour in another book somehow...

Phil said...

"I'm sure my kids and the locals will think I'm nuts."
That could be said of any and all bloggers?

Jenny said...

I was going to post a comment but after Phil. . .

Jeanne Damoff said...

I don't have an accent either, Jen. ;)

No, it's not just the Misfits. I've been intrigued with cemeteries ever since I took a course on death and dying 28 years ago for my sociology degree. One of our assignments required extensive cemetery time, and I realized how fascinating they can be--each tombstone a little history yet leaving so much scope for the imagination.

George loves them, too, and he's a biologist. (But he's also a poet, so I guess you can still assume it's a writer thing.) An old cemetery borders a university where he taught for eight years, and he often carried his lunch there to sit and think and pray undisturbed.