I grew up thinking I lived in a small town. Orem did not seem very large. I could walk to the Scera Pool everyday in the summer and see all my friends. I knew everyone I went to Scera Park Elementary with and I knew nearly everyone at Orem High during the 4 years I spent there (back in the 80's 9th grade was in high school for a short time). When I would drive to Salt Lake, that was big! Later in life as I traveled to San Francisco, Chicago, and Portland, those cities seemed huge. Orem was definitely small.
I now know the truth. Orem is HUGE! Before I moved to Wyoming I realized that Orem has more people in it than any city in Wyoming. Even the capitol of Cheyenne only has 55,000 people. The tallest building in the state is a dorm building at the University of Wyoming and I think it's around 12 stories high. I read all of this info before I moved and thought I understood what it meant. I didn't. Let me tell you what it's like to live in a small town of 5500 people.
Tuesday night there was a community party. This party was supported by all the businesses in the town of Worland. They provided the meat for the hamburgers and hot dogs, the drinks and the chips. It took place outside the community center on the football field. The small town of Ten Sleep, which is the only other city in our county of Washakie was also invited. It's about 30 minutes from Worland and has around 250 people. Everyone comes to this, well nearly everyone. After we all had our food and were seated either in the bleachers or on the grass both high schools (Ten Sleep and Worland) proceeded to introduce their fall sports teams. They introduced EVERY member of each sport team. The band also marched on the field and performed. They started with tiny Ten Sleep. Their football team has 9 members. NINE. Their volleyball team has 7 or 8. That was it for Ten Sleep. Then came Worland. They introduced football, volleyball, golf, swimming, cross country, and cheerleading as well as their special olympic athletes. All of this took under an hour. Wow.
Palmer performed in the marching band and was introduced with the football team. The marching band was a little sad. Palmer asked me if I thought they were that bad....and yes, they kind of were! But Palmer rocked the drums!
This Friday is the first high school football game. The entire town shows up for these games. There is no admission charged. It doesn't matter if you have kids at the high school or not, people come. Talk about school spirit!
Another point, when Peter was sick on Monday and didn't go to school, the elementary school secretary called me to make sure he was o.k. She calls EVERY parent whose child isn't at school each day unless you let her know ahead of time that your child will be absent.
And finally, I ran a few errands the other day after I had exercised and before I had a chance to shower. Every store I went into people knew me. I can't leave a store without having a minimum of 10 minute conversation with someone. There is no running in quickly hoping you don't run into anyone you know because you look awful!
Small town USA, I'm liking it more each day!