Small Town Life

31 Jul

Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Prob’ly die in a small town
Oh, those small – communities

I don’t know if Waupun is considered a small town now that we have a Taco Bell, not to mention a McDonalds, a Subway and a Culvers (and three prisons).  Probably not.  But maybe we’re close, and I like to imagine at least that I live in a relatively small community.  You see, unlike John Mellancamp, I was not born in a small town, but as the saying goes, I got to one as soon as possible.

stownMellancamp’s song is on my mind as I think about Wendell Berry’s book, Jayber Crow, which I finished just yesterday.  Jayber is the nickname of the first person character of the book, a bachelor barber named Jonah, who was orphaned as a young boy and given the name “J” by his caregivers at a local orphanage.  J becomes “Jaybird” and gets shortened to “Jayber”, as life has it.  The story was…delightful…and all about life in a small town named Port William. This was my first read by Wendell Berry, but as I understand it, most all of his books take place in Port William, Kentucky, and the characters overlap throughout.

Educated in a small town
Taught to fear Jesus in a small town
Used to daydream in that small town
Another born romantic that’s me

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be

I suppose that Jayber the barber could have written Mellencamp’s song, for he certainly finds some of the heretofore mentioned blessings from the throne of the barber’s chair on Main Street.  I myself have found such bounties, and if my children and my children’s children do as well some day, all the better.

That said, I have to admit that some days I feel the romance of the big city, and beyond romance, the need of the multitudes, the cry of the crowds.  I know demographers say that small town life is slowly disappearing, that the world is going to the cities.  But for me…for now, as they say, “It’s a nice place to visit…”

Well I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in a small town
Ah, that’s prob’ly where they’ll bury me

– John Mellencamp, Small Town


Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Uncategorized


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5 responses to “Small Town Life

  1. JoAnn karls

    July 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Loved the “Big City” as a young unmarried adult but when married and family started, there was nothing like going home to the small town. Also like reading about small town living, re: “Home To Harmony” by Philip Gulley. I’ll have to look up & read
    “Jayber Crow”


  2. rogerknowlton

    August 7, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Tell me what you think after you read JoAnn. Love to hear your thoughts.


  3. John Majors

    February 2, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    You like Mellencamp AND Berry? We would be best friends…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger Knowlton

      February 2, 2016 at 9:59 pm

      And we might just be, John, as looking over your blog I see you are also a fan of that delightful man who went to all the right schools…Harvard, Westminster, and Cambridge. Dr. G taught me Systematics at TEDS. Love that guy. Thanks for dropping by!


      • John

        February 3, 2016 at 3:22 pm

        I attended Phoenix Seminary and was part of his mentoring group there, so yeah, I’m a huge Grudem fan. Cool!



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