One of the things I love about small towns is how everyone knows who you are. It’s not for some people, I know, but I like the sense of belonging.
There is a flip side, however – you can’t get away with anything.
As my mother discovered.
“How’d you go?” I asked my mum when Tracey and I arrived home from a couple of nights away. “Any problems?”
“No,” she lied.
Grandma had been staying at our house and looking after the kids. She’s wonderful like that.
“Nothing at all?” I pressed. “Everything went smoothly?”
“It was all good,” she said, and I paused for just a second to see if her pants were going to burst into flames right then and there.
“So nothing you want to tell us? Nothing, for example, about a pram?”
“Oh, you’re a bugger!” she exclaimed, slapping my arm like I’d done something wrong. “How do you know?”
I’d be more surprised if I didn’t. News travels fast here. Like the time my dad tried a Dukes of Hazzard from the bottle shop carpark to the main road and within five minutes I heard about it via my son who lives 250km away: he’d noticed his mate (who works in the bottle shop) had posted a photo on Facebook of Grandad’s car in a tree.
“I saw your mum downtown with the kids on Saturday,” a friend had told Tracey. “She seemed to be having a bit of trouble with a pram. There were a heap of people gathered around it.”
It turns out my mum had decided to go down town with the three youngest kids. Because she forgets she’s 70 she decided they should walk, so she loaded Miss2 into the pram and they all headed off.
“It was harder than I thought,” she admitted to me.
It would be. The only level spot in the 2kms between our house and the shopping centre is this side of our gate.
Plus the pram had three flat tyres.
“So that’s why it was so hard to push!” she exclaimed when I told her.
Needless to say she was knackered when they arrived at the shops so she decided they should catch a cab home.
Only she couldn’t get the pram to fold up. Neither could the cabbie. Neither could the old bloke who was passing by or his mate he called over from across the street.
I’m not done yet.
Neither could the waitress in the pub they were parked beside.
In the end it was the chef from the pub who came out and saved the day.
And the fact is, my mum didn’t know any of them.
Yep, you can’t get away with anything in a small town like ours.
But neither are you left standing on a sidewalk with three little girls trying to work out how to fold up an unfamiliar pram without half the town showing up.
That’s just one of the things I love about this place.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs”