Living in a small town


When we told them about our home in Canada, our friends in Japan simply couldn’t visualize a town with a population of 900 people. I understand completely. I couldn’t either until I came to Sedgewick to teach school almost 34 years ago.

There are a lot of “You know you live in a small town when…” jokes circulating on the internet. Here are a few that I can definitely identify with.


You know you live in a small town when…

Third Street is on the edge of town.

You don’t need to use turn signals because everyone knows where you’re going.

You call a wrong number and they supply you with the right one.

You dial a wrong number and talk for fifteen minutes anyway.

You decide to walk somewhere for exercise and people pull over to ask if you need a ride.

Your teachers remember when they taught your parents.

The New Year’s baby is born in February.

You can’t go to the grocery store without seeing someone you know.

It’s normal to see an old man riding through town on a ride on lawnmower.

The closest McDonald’s is 50 miles away.

Everyone knows the news before it’s published.

You drive into the ditch five miles out of town and word gets back before you do.


It’s absolutely true that in a town this size people know your business almost as soon as you do. There’s advantage and disadvantage in that but one thing I’ve learned is that it’s best not to believe everything you hear.

In the spring of 2007, as our retirement approached and we began to mention our interest in spending a year teaching English in Japan, rumours began to spread. We soon heard that our house had been sold and that we were leaving for China as soon as school was out at the end of June! Even those who knew better than to believe these stories started asking when we were leaving long before we’d actually accepted teaching positions.

Now that we’re back, it’s becoming obvious that many people think we’re only here for a visit. The second question that many ask, after “How was it?” is “Are you going back?” or “How long are you here for?”  I suppose there’s one of two reasons for that. Perhaps they actually thought that we’d left permanently or more likely, in most cases, they simply don’t realize that more than a year has already passed since we left.

Are we going back? If we do, it will only be for a visit, not to work for another year. We had the option of staying longer, but family obligations would have made that an unwise choice and we really do want to experience retirement. If travel wasn’t so expensive, I’d love to visit Japan once a year. In fact, if I was able to, I wouldn’t mind spending several months there each year but this is home.

How long are we here for? I really don’t know. Sedgewick is a good place to come home to but there’s still a lot of world out there that we haven’t seen and we’ll certainly be looking for opportunities to spend shorter periods of time in other interesting places. In the meantime, though we miss the many wonderful friends that we made in Japan, we’re happy to be back.

I even came up with my own “You know you live in a small town when…” line recently. You know you live in a small town when the vehicle parked next to yours has a license plate number that is one digit different from yours. I don’t know who YKX 656 is, but we’re YKX 657 and we were parked side by side in front of the Sedgewick Co-op one day last week!


Main Street Sedgewick

Main Street, Sedgewick








2 thoughts on “Living in a small town

  1. Hay John and I can so very much understand the license plate number thing mine is key 885 and Johns is key 884 and key 886. LOL

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