Saturday, August 8, 2009

Small Town Living

by Mark Baker

One wouldn't think that there's anything 'inspirational' to write about on this rainy, gray morning, but they would be wrong because as I set here at 'Sweet Linda's Cafe' sipping on my ice-tea and looking out the window onto Bridge Street, I smile because of the great peace I feel living in the great little town I grew-up in and raised my sons in. In less then an hour since I entered Linda's, I have spoken with seven people I know and waved at a few who strolled past on the sidewalk outside.

Ken Black, a friend who owns 'Four Seasons Gift Shop' saw me as he passed by and came in to say hello on his way back to his shop; 'Stan,' a retired banker shared how his week went and we waxed-on about the nature of the economy, the odd weather and such. Laura Sepalla (sp?) just came-up to me as I was typing the last sentence to introduce herself and inquire about my feelings regarding the Acer Aspire One NetBook I'm typing on today. She's going to encourage her husband to get one for his travels. Although I just met Laura, she underscores exactly what I'm writing about here this morning, 'the Nature of Small Town Living.'

Grand Ledge has a population of approximately 9000 people, many of whom grew-up here and consider themselves 'Ledger's.' We are a unique lot by and large and value honesty, goodwill and 'neighborliness' on a list that includes many other virtues of a era that has largely disappeared in larger venues such as Lansing, the capitol city nine miles to the east, but as far away as the moon as it applies to quality-of-life issues. Don't get me wrong, we're far from utopia, while Lansing has suffered a couple murders in as many weeks, we've experienced a couple of murders in the last sixty years (both perpetrated by 'out-of-towners'); we have our share of idiot's and oddballs (myself perhaps included in the latter category), as well as some jerks who long to be 'Ledger's,' but whom lack the underpinnings that make us, US! However, they are entertaining to watch. From my words here, one might be tempted to retort that we're elitist in our thinking. Nothing could be further from the truth, because we largely value most intangibles such as relationships with one-another far more then tangible, material things.

Here again I've lost my focus as I just finished getting caught-up with Lynn MacDowell, wife of Bruce and co-owner of 'MacDowell's' Fireplace and Flower Shop here in town. We both attempted to determine if the 'Grand Ledge Farmer's Market' across the street was selling peaches or apples on the first table, but weren't brave enough to get rained-on to go find out, lol.

Looking back, I can remember not being able to wait to get out of Grand Ledge when I was a kid in high school here. But after going away with the Air Force and then living in Lansing for a few years after I returned, I couldn't wait to return to the little town I grew-up in. Funny how our perspective can change as we experience life. What I thought to be 'Podunk' as a smart-ass teenager, turned out to be paradise when I 'grew-up.'

To those of you who are looking for a great place to raise your kids and enjoy real community, consider Grand Ledge (at least pay us and our great businesses a visit); to those of you who might be inclined to kick dogs, disrespect women, elders and live off the system (or might be political carpet-baggers who might be named 'Virg') such, stay in Lansing, Flint, wherever you are and leave us alone, lol. Ah Yes, one can take a jerk out of the big city, but one can never take the big city out of the jerk.

There, I've vented, I feel better now, and I love my little hamlet of Grand Ledge...



  1. My hometown is far bigger than Grand Ledge but, has a lot of the small town attributes. We are really quite connected to each other and willing to challenge the local government about issues that affect us. I love big visit but Dayton is as large as I would live in and quite honestly, I long to live some place smaller. Yellow Springs, OH comes to mind with a whopping 4500 residents. Let's hear it for the joy and pleasures of small town life.

  2. I still need that small town feel. I've lived on the edges of civilation close to the foothills and a National Forest for years. Trees and hiking trails abound just five minutes from me. Houses cease to exist. Too many cars and red lights really bother me.

    Stephen Tremp