The news headlines and social media all compete for attention with the latest in Hollywood news and politics. For example, Barbara Streisand tweeted “Donald Trump is making me gain weight. I start the day with liquids, but after the morning news, I eat pancakes smothered in maple syrup!” the singer tweeted on Saturday. And Hollywood and Washington have crossed paths again as seen in the headlines, “Oscars Fiasco & Hollywood Liberals Slapped By VP Mike Pence At DC Shindig.” Other topics such as security breaches, Jeff Sessions, and what Donald Trump tweets are also wildly popular. Or headlines such as, “Nicki Minaj Pulls a Lil’ Kim at Paris Fashion Week Show” are being tweeted and retweeted again and again. I have to admit I do not watch the news or read the paper. I barely read anything remotely newsy on the internet. Thankfully, I have a husband who shares what he has read throughout the day on news related topics of importance. However, I do not feel what happens in Hollywood or what somebody tweets about eating more pancakes really has an effect on my life. Life in a small town John Cougar Mellencamp, sang about small towns in his hit song, “Small Town.” Well I was born in a small town And I live in a small town Probably die in a small town Oh, those small communities All my friends are so small town My parents live in the same small town My job is so small town Provides little opportunity Educated in a small town Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town Used to daydream in that small town Another boring romantic that’s me I sang these lyrics from the time I was ten years old and even knew at that young age I was a small town gal. Small towns are notorious for a laid-back lifestyle and often portrayed in Hollywood films as idyllic. I live in a small town and love it. It is not perfect, but certainly is idyllic. We are surrounded by woods, lakes, and thousands of acres of state land at our fingertips. Hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, and boating are favorite pastimes in my small town. In my small town of 1,378 we do not have any shopping malls, Walmarts, or movie theaters. We do have to travel close to a half hour to get to a Walmart or larger grocery store. There are some inconveniences of living in a small town, but they pale in comparison to the benefits of living in a small town. Benefit 1: Everybody knows you and you know everybody. Every time I head to the post office, school, or grocery store it is not uncommon to have 10-15 people say hello and ask how I am doing. Even if I go out for a walk around my house, it is likely I will be waved at or a neighbor will stop and say hello. First of all, I do not live in a subdivision or in town. I live in the country on fifty five acres of land. My neighbors are seasonal, so by neighbors I am talking about the farmer down the street or the old guy who lives a mile off of our dirt road. I love the fact that I feel comfortable wherever I go. We feel safe. We love raising my children here. Benefit 2: Your favorite restaurant knows your order True story. Most locals can walk into a diner, Dairy Queen, bakery, or fast food joint and know what you’re going to order. Benefit 3: People care and are helpful Maybe this should be under the first benefit, but I feel its important enough to mention. In our small town, we have many benefits that are held yearly. These benefits may be for a child with cancer or a family that lost their home in a fire. Regardless of the reason, we come together benefit others. There are a few times I have beenbroken down on the side of the road with my children and within a few minutes somebody I know is going by, pulls over, and is offering assistance. Help is always around the corner whether it is somebody opening a door or helping me at the hardware store. Other benefits: There are many benefits to living in a small town such as hospitality. When we moved into our new home neighbors in the area delivered cookies and apples to our doorstep. Each time after I delivered my babies, I had meals delivered to my house for a week at a time. We live a slower life style and do things at our own pace. No rush hour traffic and no getting stuck in traffic. Its a big deal when we have eight cars lined up at our one traffic light in town. Less stress = healthier lifestyle. Living in a small town offers festivals. We have the Bass Festival which celebrates the opening of the fishing season. We have kids competitions, a carnival, parade, ball tournaments, and flea markets. It is a big deal and its great time for our small town to come together. In our town sports are big and the community comes together to rally. Friday night hometown football games are big in the fall. We bundle up together in the stands to watch our local boys compete against other small towns. Other benefits include lower cost of living, having traditional values, and it is super easy to stay informed. If y0u have chance to ever live in or retire to a small town, I encourage you to do so.