When I travel home to the small town where I grew up, I compare it to slipping on an old comfortable coat that I haven’t worn in a long time. The coat is worn in spots, there may even be a rip or tear. At the same time though, the coat has been broken-in, it’s loose in the spots where it needs to be loose, tight in the spots where it needs to be tight.
I put the coat on and let out a sigh. One jacket feels too big, another too tight, this one feels just right. I know what I’m going to get every time I put on the coat. With that in mind, I read a New Yorker magazine piece recently where the writer compared how she talks about her small Pennsylvania town with her big city friends versus the friends from her hometown.
I could relate to much of the New Yorker piece — How I Talk About My Small Pennsylvania Home Town with Friends from Big Cities vs. How I Talk about it with People from My Home Town — since many of my high school friends and even some of extended family have stayed local. Still other comments in the piece sounded flat and out of place to me.
So of course, I decided to take things into my own hands and create my own version. Which do you like better, the New Yorker or my version? Here you go:
Big City: Penn State should have a good year. Their offense is young, but they’ve got potential, and no one is going to score on their defense. With a little luck against Ohio State and Michigan, they could go all the way. And yes, stop giving me grief over Joe Paterno and the Sandusky scandal, that’s old news.
Home town: Going to any Penn State games this year? You know it’s always a good time and this could be their year. We’ve got to tailgate together. It’s been too long and the beer’s on me.
Big City: Yes, I knew a couple Amish. They lived nearby. Yes, they’re nice, loving people.
Home Town: Those damn horse and buggies are killing the roads. Have you driven up Route 655 lately? Those aren’t potholes, they’re craters. They should outlaw those things!
Big City: Yea, I spoke with my mother last night, she says it raining back home again, raining cats and dogs. I bet the Seven Mountains will be a mess.
Home Town: Of course, it’s raining again. I think I last saw the sun three months ago.
Big City: Jack’s Mountain and the farms up the Big Valley are the brightest green you’ll ever get to see. Looks like something out of the green isle of Ireland.
Home Town: Every time I drive up the valley I have the worst luck. I end up following a tractor tractor or a horse-and-buggy, but, yes, it’s definitely green. The corn is already knee high and it’s not even the Fourth of July. Looks like a good year.
Big City: Can you believe the school district still gives kids the day off from school the Monday after Thanksgiving so that they can go hunting on the first day of buck season? How’s that happen?
Hometown: Let me know if you’re going hunting this year. I miss getting out in the woods with no cell phone, no work, no bothers. Plus, I haven’t had any venison in forever.
Big City: Wait until I take you to this little country store in my hometown. Whatever you might want, they got it. They’re better than any Target, Wegman’s, or Home Depot that you’ve ever seen.
Home Town: I love the new Sheetz that they built off Route 322. It’s so clean.
Big City: The Amish whoopie pies and moon pies are to die for.
Home Town: The Amish whoopie pies and moon pies are to die for.
Great read, Brian.
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Well said. I am trying to write something about my hometown. So far all i have got is … pictures. Need to find good words. I like that parallel with the coat. Greetings from other side of the ocean
You inspired me, so i wrote about my hometown today. I used one sentence from your post. If you do mind, tell me so, i will delete it. If you don’t, i thank you.
Thank you for sharing about your hometown. An interesting place!
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