For those who have lived life in the big city, I dare say is it relatively easy for you to formulate an honest opinion between city life and the small town experience. You’ve lived the differences.
However, no matter where your allegiance falls, it must be acknowledged both lifestyles offer pros and cons. As with most opinions, there are valid pluses and minuses for each side of the argument.
For those of us who have lived in a large city like the Atlanta metropolitan area with 5.6 million people or a Charlotte, North Carolina with 2.7 million in the vast area of Mecklenburg County, it becomes easy to understand the blessings of living in an unencumbered village –– a small town.
Ava offers a host of positives, and this most recent New Years eve day reinforced in my mind the reality of that statement.
On the last day in 2019, amidst the throes of procrastination, I had a New Years eve day list filled with tasks best completed before January 2020 arrived. I had about three hours to accomplish my tasks before businesses closed for the New Years eve holiday.
The Ava Post Office was my first stop, and as I had hoped, I breezed in and out without a hitch. Parking was simple, and my tasks were completed in about five minutes.
By comparison, in a big city like Atlanta, especially in the area where I lived, the nearest post office was a 30-minute drive from my office location or my home. In normal Atlanta traffic, travel time would take 30 minutes, with an additional 15 minutes needed to snag a parking place. Already down 45 minutes and nothing was accomplished. Once inside, a 15 – 25 minute wait was the norm before reaching the front counter and postal clerk.
So, a regular, uneventful, normal trip to the post office would normally take at least one-hour, maybe longer. It wasn’t an errand to be tackled during the lunch hour.
Next stop, the Douglas County Courthouse and collector’s office –– a five minute drive from the post office. Parking is handy, and my tax payments are swiftly and courteously handled by Laura Stillings and staff. Holiday wishes and kind pleasantries exchanged, and another chore easily done.
To pay taxes in Atlanta, a drive to the Fulton County Courthouse would have taken at least 45 minutes in good traffic. Once inside there would be a line, and that line would snake around the first floor corridor hallway. Likely another hour’s wait before reaching the collectors office.
Here in Ava paying taxes is a five minute task –– in the big city it is likely to take 2-3 hours.
My next stop …. Heath & Son Feed & Supply for a big bag of feed. The H&S office was filled with smiling faces and heartfelt Christmas wishes. A friendly atmosphere indeed –– another small town treat.
The feed pick-up was easily accomplished and the drive was less than five minutes. Parking was not an issue. Service was excellent, as the bag was carried and placed in my car.
Last minute objectives completed. In Ava, my year-end list took less than one hour, with no hassles. I had time for lunch.
Accomplishing all those tasks in the city would have taken several days, especially during a holiday season. Please understand I’m not picking on Atlanta per se, but the complications of city life in general.
In truth, Atlanta was one of my favorite places to live. I thoroughly enjoyed all the available amenities –– shopping, restaurants, entertainment venues, southern mindset, and cultural events. But there were concessions to be made, and congested or blocked roadways was always a given. Whether shopping or running errands, travel time required patience and planning.
In contrast, amenities are limited in Ava and some venues unavailable, but as noted earlier, our lifestyles are a choice and sometimes that means compromise.
For me, small town life wins. Ava offers the opportunity to live in partnership with people and community.
And, parking is not an issue, traffic jams don’t exist, anonymity is not an option, driving across town is easy, long lines are rare, and overcrowding is atypical.
Most of all, behaviors are less frenetic.
I grew up in Ava. Went to high school in Ava. My family heritage is here, and after working and living in the south for nearly 30 years, it seemed a natural progression to return home to my roots. And upon completing my tasks on New Years eve day, I once again realized how our small town with its uncomplicated lifestyle, is a blessing.
Life here is simple and unencumbered.
No, it isn’t perfect, but it is peaceful, manageable and serene, especially when compared to the hectic traffic and never-ending hubbub of a metropolitan area.
In our community, traffic jams are rare. We may face stray animals on the roadway or a cattle hauler loaded for market. We know to watch for tractors and elderly drivers, most we recognize. Torrential rains mean low-water bridges flood.
Or, we may run late because we encounter a dear friend in the bread aisle at the grocery.
Yes, small towns generate a distinct set of parameters for living life, as priorities are definitely different.
Ava is quite unique when compared to other places –– and frankly, that is exactly as it should be.