Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mayberry Moments

I live in a small town. It's not one of those bumps in the road with a post office, Dairy Queen and little else, but it is small, less than 5,000. Having lived all but my college days in and around Houston, it was quite an adjustment when I first moved here about 12 years ago. My husband and I thought a smaller town and its schools would be a better place for our boys and we had always loved the Texas Hill Country. Now I can't imagine living anywhere else.

There are drawbacks to living in a small town--like no public utilities. Everyone here is on septic and well; that's an adventure. When you live in a city like Houston, you take for granted the ethnic diversity of the restaurants. I miss Vietnamese, Cuban, Brazilian and other exotic cuisines. Here, our most exotic choice is whether to have sweet potato or regular fries with that chicken fried steak. But these things are minor when I think of the friendships and sense of community we found here, deep in the heart of Texas.

There are those moments in my small-town life that make me pause and laugh, almost every day. I call them Mayberry Moments. Here are just a few and, I swear, every one of these is true, or at least mostly true.

You know you live in a small town when . . .
  • You buy your makeup and hair spray at ACE Hardware.
  • The City Judge, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and your brother-in-law are the same person. He is also your lawyer.
  • You make a lunch date by saying, "Meet me at the Cafe at 11:30."
  • Before you get to the Cafe, you already know what the lunch special is: Monday, meatloaf; Tuesday, chicken/spinach enchiladas; Wednesday, chicken and wild rice; Thursday, hamburger steak and Friday, fried catfish. When you get to your table, the waitress asks you whether you want to look at a menu because she knows you have it memorized.
  • You are standing in line at the Jitterbug Coffee Bar when the phone rings behind the counter and the girl says, "Yeah, she's right here," and hands you the phone. Then the caller tells you he knew he'd find you there because his secretary just drove by and saw your car in the parking lot. Mayberry moment.
  • The only place in town to see a movie is a walk-in, outdoor theatre. You bring your own lawn chair and the feature starts 15 minutes after "dark." It is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night and you get first run movies. If the movie happens to be a western, the horses on screen will rile up the horses in the corral next door and they will run up and down the fence during the show.
 It's not all Mayberry; we do have have crime -- theft, vandalism (mostly bored kids,) drugs and the occasional gruesome suicide or death. But not every day. For this I am grateful.

My novel will be set in a town like this, full of quirky characters and just a little evil. The story is rambling through my head, grabbing bits and pieces from here and there, not ready to emerge. Until it does, I'll be here, writing my novel. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. I loved this post! And I agree: Your little town sounds like the perfect setting for a novel. Now I'm imagining your novel(s) turned into a TV series and you playing an Angela-Lansbury-type role.

  2. Getting better and better.....I am loving to read the next imput daily and can't wait!.....loving it!......going great! Keep it up!