Friday, February 11, 2011


When I was younger my dad often worked long hours and when he got home I recall him eating dinner with our family and then going up to his room to watch TV or read a magazine.  Many times I would join him laying with him in his bed.  My favorite show to watch with him was Cheers and often if I was laying with him he would appease me by turning it on.  He used to ask me why I liked the show so much and I remember answering that I thought that there would be nothing better than going somewhere "where everybody knows your name".  They were all bound by some link and a sense of belonging was so prevalent it seemed to meet my ideals just perfectly.

Fast forward 20 years and you will find me smack dab in the center of a small rural Lancaster County town.  It was a town picked intentionally for it small town feel, its great feeling of longevity - next year we will be celebrating it's 250 year history, and sense of community which is so strong.  There are lots of small town events and long standing friendships reminiscent of the movie "Funny Farm" starring Chevy Chase.  And imagine my utter shock and delight to actually find a bar named Cheers within this town.  So once I moved here I worked to establish and deeply embed myself in this small town charm.  I participated in the PTO and served as an officer, I joined Women's Club of Manheim, a philanthropic organization, and attended many meetings concerning MC Rec and the Downtown Development Group. 

When I walk into the school everyone knows my name and who my kids are, as I run errands around the town I can't do so without seeing someone I know and chatting a bit, the librarians know me by name and will hold back brand new books they think I might like before shelving them for general use.  I feel that sense of community that I longed for from my childhood and I love it.  In some ways I am still an outsider being from the "whole" next county over and not familiar with every establishment by both it's current name and what it used to called 20 years ago, but overall the adjustment has been quite fulfilling. 

So it should come as no surprise than that over the past few months as several officers from PTO are announcing this to be their last year, many have looked in my direction to see if I would be interested in being the next PTO President.  And after being hinted around a bit, last night I was asked to be the Vice President for the Women's Club.    Although flattered to no end, it feels a bit overwhelming too and truth be told I am still weighing out my decisions.  But I can't help but also feel frustrated.  Many are more qualified than me for these positions, know more than I do, have been here longer - why not ask them.  It all comes down to people willing to serve around them.  And I have found that enough people just aren't willing to fill in these positions with claims of being too busy.

And I feel sad to know that not all people want that same charm of small town living that I do including the responsibilities of everyone doing five different roles.  I can't help but wonder what will happen if people continue to not be interested in helping.  What will become of a school with no PTO and a community with a dying women's organization.  Where and what will my small town be then?

1 comment:

Alisa said...

Someone will always be around to step up. I think your small town will be just fine....especially since you guys are there now. I liked reading about this town. When I think of out east I always think of things crammed together and much less neighborly service going on...thank you for correcting me!