We are small town. Small town. We are 509 branded. This isn’t our first time at the rodeo. We’ve actually been to a rodeo. State fair. Church camp. Backyard barbecue slip n’ slide bonfire inner tubing star-gazing. Our lives are mapped by rivers and mountain ranges. Our futures are shaped by agriculture, where our parents worked, GEDs.

We drive in pick-up trucks. There used to be a drive-in theater, and people filled it on Friday nights to watch double features. We hang out in the Jack-in-the-Box parking lot and cruise Nob Hill. We’ve run through the orchards at night, laughing. We sneak into the public pool late at night to swim the empty waters. We skinny dip in lakes. We’ve gone ice blocking drunk. We get drunk in parking lots. We wander through Walmart in the middle of the night because there’s nothing else to do. There are two of them, bookmarking east and west, so now we have options.

We walk through the corn maze every fall, wait and see what design the field has been cut in this year. Families go during the days, but at night groups of girls scream at the monsters hired to jump out at them and teen couples purposely lose themselves down a dead end and kiss until discovered. In the summer, we float down the river, past winding roads and speeding cars that honk their horns in jealously. But we don’t care–we’ve got music and booze and a sense of permanence in the water, even as it snakes through the canyons and inevitably ends. You have to go back to shore at a safe spot; kids have drowned here before. What traditions are there during the winter when the roads haven’t been plowed and the apple trees are sheathed in ice? We want the peaches back. The asparagus and onions. Give us cherries that we can split in our mouths and suck on the pits, our fingers stained with evidence of the slaughter. In a small town you live for summer.

HometownCountry music makes us fall in love. We’ve fallen in love a half-dozen times on swing sets. On baseball fields. Parked cars. On the merry-go-round. We’ve spun in circles at night–faster, faster–and when it stopped, held hands and stared up at the stars. Let’s kiss every time another firework bursts above us. Let’s make the lights jealous.

We all know someone who has died tragically. Or too young. Or both. We know someone with a habit. Someone with an addiction. Someone who has been to jail. We know that one person who got out and the one who came back. Married too young; divorced even younger. We know the girl who got pregnant in high school and the boy who got kicked out.

Our high school reunion is every night at Bill’s Place. At Sports Center. Let’s skip Jackson’s and go to McGuire’s. Remember that time at McGuire’s? At Bert’s? Yeah, me neither. The bookstores closed down, but more banks keep opening.


  1. Living is a small town on the other side of the world, I can relate. Thanks for the amazing trip down memory lane.

    1. Glad to hear the small town experience is universal.

  2. Your words are poetry. This post was beautiful. Thank you.

    1. Somebody just made my Monday. Thank you!

  3. Reblogged this on arrow16 and commented:
    I felt dreamy, and like I was really there when I read this. It’s really lovely. And it has a genuine, sincere ring to it – heartfelt, one could say.
    All credits to Kait Gets Lit.

  4. Reblogged this on micropure's Blog and commented:
    The story of my life in another’s beautiful words.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad it resonated with you. I wrote it after I returned home in July for a family visit. Now that I live in New York, I really cherish the wonderful peculiarities of small town life.

      1. I love my small town life. We all claim we want to leave but most never do. And the majority of the ones who do eventually come home.

  5. What a lovely post
    The Science Geek

  6. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

    1. Thank you, and thanks for reading.

  7. Very good read! I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  8. This sounds like an amazing town(: .Beautifully written

  9. Nicely written, reminded me of when I was living in a small town 🙂

  10. This is such a lovely, beautifully written post.

  11. This is amazing!! Loved it, all of it 🙂

  12. I think this is good! Can we be friends?

  13. This took me back over three decades to my own upbringing in small town Texas, Very evocative of the time when we are young and energetic and have our whole lives before us to explore and enjoy. Thanks for the memories!

  14. Wonderful post. Reminded me about my own hometown that’s in the middle of nowhere 🙂

  15. Catherine Johnson Avatar
    Catherine Johnson

    It’s like your writing about my family lol. Love this!

  16. runningonsober Avatar

    Beautifully written, Kait. Well deserved FP! -Christy

  17. You highlight one of the major problems of small town life – not enough people. Nicely written.

  18. I absolutely love this post! Beautifully written!

    1. Thanks. It’s from a fireworks show in Toppenish, Washington–best time of year for that town.

  19. This was beautiful and so familiar. It really hit home with me reminding me both of my teen years and even now watching my young family grow up in a small agriculture based region.

  20. This was my high school experience! I will always miss it!

  21. Beautifully written… It reminded me of a Bruce Springsteen song but it reads like poetry kind of like reading Maya Angelou

  22. I’m trying to wrap my head around why a community of less than a 1000 people has two Wal-Marts…

    Amazing post. Love the lyrical quality of your writing. I may just follow you! Kudos to you. 🙂

  23. Allan G. Smorra Avatar
    Allan G. Smorra

    Congratulations on being FP’d and thanks for this reminder of what is/was like to be young.

  24. This blog post is great! I was wondering if you could kindly visit my blog and like or comment on anything you found interesting?

  25. Kate does get it. Except my town was too small for jack in the box and walmart…still…

  26. I really liked reading that! Very beautifully written.

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