Small Town Confession Tuesday

So, we've finished up another National Poetry Month.

I confess there was a part of me doing a little happy dance when May Day arrived at my doorstep.  It was one crazybusyfun April, but I can get a little overwhelmed with things and I did.  Or I may have.

So let's just head into the confessional, my feelings of being overwhelmed caused me to forget quite a few things... and well, l in this case, I got very lucky.

To the confessional--

I confess I am the one who does bills in the family and I am usually pretty good, very good in fact (read: Capricorn), but 2010 has been the year of the mistake in regards to the bill paying.

So let's just say, that in paying the bills, I forgot to do one tiny little step-- transfer over money into our account to *cover* the bills.

At a poetry reading on Thursday, my husband and I went to get some cash for dinner from the cash machine and received a very special note from the ATM:  Insufficient Funds.  What?  I cannot tell you how much my stomach sank trying to figure what had happened.

When I got home, I checked our bank account.  Overdrawn.  Then I realized, I had forgotten to transfer the money to cover the bills.  Good one, Miss Capricorn.

All I could think about was our checks bouncing all over the town and those awful penalty fees we would have to pay to the merchants and to our bank.  Ugh.  But there was nothing I could do but transfer the money and call the bank in the morning to see how much I owed and to who.

The next morning I called the bank and waited for the bad news of how much extra I'd owe and to who. I waited to see what bill companies I'd have to call and explain why my check bounced.  I thought about how many $25 penalties I'd have to pay.  The woman (named Louise, I believe), pulled up my account.  She said, "It looks fine, no checks have bounced and everything is good."  What?  How can that be?

It turns out that my small-town bank pushed my checks through seeing I had money in my savings account and because they knew me and I was a good customer.  All my bills were paid.  There were no penalty fees and no fees for being $XXX overdrawn.  Why?  Because I was not an account number to them, but a person.  And they took care of it knowing that this was not normal behavior for me.

Sometimes I complain about small town life.  I complain that I get tired of everyone knowing my business and the small town chatter that you can hear ringing from the church bells and coffee shops.  I think, Wouldn't it be nice to be anonymous?

And then I think, No.

There is a reason I moved from a city with a population of 606,200 to one of less than 3000.  People recognize me, my car, my family, my dog, my bike.  They know what kind of coffee I drink and where I bike.  At the Farmer's Market, I cannot walk three steps without running into someone I know.

It's hard to be invisible here and well, sometimes I like to be invisible.  Sometimes, this town feels too small, too confining, too far away from city life, but then, I remember how grateful I am to live here.

It's been my experience that this small town is made up for folks who watch out for each other.  They do the extra things to help others out because the "other" isn't an "other," but a "someone."

I confess I have lost my checkbook (4 times) in this small town, my black down coat, and my iPhone once and each time they were returned.   I confess I stood in line at the grocery only to realize I left all my money at home and the cashier said, "No worries, you can just pay for your groceries when you comeback." (I know sound very irresponsible as I type this, just know, I have just been absent-minded lately--this post is proof of that, I think I've confessed everything...)

So this week I am feeling thankful for the anonymous person in the bank who recognized me as a person and helped me avoid disaster by believing that "I was good for it" and passing my checks through.

I confess I am constantly being reminded to be grateful for what I take for granted--where I am and the people in my life.

But I'm trying to be better, to make sure I remember how much I have to be thankful for --and not just when someone saves my arse, but all the time.   To remember how lucky I am for the people I have in my life and the things I take for granted.  Is there a way to live without forgetting how much we have?  I think I'm working to live like this.

I confess I *am* working to live like this.

I mess up a lot, but I like to think of myself as a work in progress.  Be patient, small town, I'll get better.  I am definitely not perfect, but when I realize how I haven't been living mindfully or as gratefully as I should be, I take note and try harder.

I confess I was expecting to write about this, but I realize, this is what I need to be thinking about.  Expect a gratitude journal post soon.



  1. Kelli, I love this post. It makes me want to move back to a small town (if only the job would follow!) I'm a Capricorn too and the bill payer at our house. I think April is a month that can push even the sturdiest of Capricorn's over the edge. Thanks for all you do for poetry and poets!

  2. i really love this post as well. i grew up in a small town, and as a kid it got tiring that everyone knew who you were and what you were doing but i can definitely see the appeal more as i get older.

    and i never even remember to take my check book with me *sigh* and the other day i had to call my husband from the bank to ask if he had my debit card. why he had it? that is another store in itself. thank goodness the bank was open so i could deposit my huge $10 check for poetry payment :)

  3. Wonderful post. Too bad more banks don't try to get to know their customers. And I'm an Aquarius. Don't know what that means about bill payment, but everyone's entitled to a slip up every once in a while.

  4. Sandy,

    April did push me over the edge, exactly! Yes, the sturdiest of Capricorns may wobble a bit. Small towns are great in many respects, but yes, the jobs are few and far between.

    Jessie-- Congrats on getting paid for your poetry! $10 is $10 more than most poets get! I think my daughter will feel the same way you did about small town life. Right now she loves it, but I know many of the HS seniors about ready to take off to anywhere just to get some space. ;-)

    Thanks, January. I was glad this one was a little more on the painless side.


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