The porch is decorated for Christmas! Let the festivities and theft begin!
People assume a certain level of story book charm comes with living in a small town. Shopkeepers who know your name, people referring to store owners as shopkeepers - that sort of thing. A lot of what you assume about small towns is true. News does travel fast, stores do shut down at 5 o'clock and there are way more churches than grocery stores.
But other things you might assume are probably not true. I for one have literally never seen a tumbleweed rolling down the street. A goat? Yes. A tumbleweed, no.
There's also the assumption we are living in a crime free Narnia where anyone born with the slightest predisposition to delinquency is shipped off to the big city before they can do any real damage. Also not true. We small town folk have thieving assholes too.
Especially around Christmastime where Christmas lights are broken, garland ripped down and nativity scenes tipped over.
This is what I call assholyness.
Last year I was subjected to it myself when my antique wood sleigh was stolen from my front porch. I loved that sleigh. Chances are it was teenagers that took it as opposed to a band of marauding antique dealers. So this year there's one less thing on my porch and one additional. There's no sleigh, but I've filled its spot with some buckets.
And two security cameras.
One in a very conspicuous spot and one in a very inconspicuous spot. Then there are 3 more around the perimeter, just to be safe.
I know. Not very small town is it? If it helps ease your small town fantasy, as I was putting the cameras up earlier this year my neighbours and I all stood around staring at them with our hands on our hips discussing what this world has come to. We did this the day before we held our annual BYOC (bring your own chair) block party. We block the road off with trucks and hockey nets. So there's that.
There is however a lot more neighbourliness in this small town than there is assholyness. When my dining room smelled disastrously like cat pee 2 days before hosting Thanksgiving dinner (the result of a renal failure cat and ripping up a wood floor) one of those shopkeepers showed up unannounced at my house with both a Lampe Berger to help get rid of the smell and a flat of hollyhocks she grew.
Whenever it snows my neighbour digs out my driveway for me. Whenever my neighbours are out of a cup of sugar (or a Tablespoon of vinegar, yard bags, milk for morning tea or even extra dishes for Thanksgiving dinner) they come to me.
When someone's child went missing in town a few of summers ago hundreds of people came out to look for him. When he was found entire streets were filled for his vigil. His name was Finn and he was as cute as a button. His mother is Vanessa. We went to high school together.
Yes, there's theft, yes there's vandalism, yes there's tragedy in a small town. But when it happens we know who our neighbours are to warn them, help them and even hold them. We let them know if our shed has been broken into, if the lady on the corner is sick and when butter is on sale at the grocery store.
So yes, something might get taken off of my porch and I might or might not catch them with my cameras. If something is stolen I'll be angry and hurt and for a few minutes I'll lose all hope in this world and its humans.
But then I'll remember there's more good than bad, more helpful than harmful and more hope than hate. Not just in a small town. Everywhere.
I leave you this year with those thoughts as I pack up shop until January. It's been a pleasure to bring you bits of my life and work all year long.
p.s. I had a whack of shots of me grinning like a fool at the camera, but this is the one I chose. In it I'm keeping an eye on a group of hooligans. The one on the Big Wheel looked particularly suspicious.