Pinke Post: Think your town is boring? Think again
What is the most boring town in your state? Do you live in it?
If we were sitting around together, with a show of hands, I think many of you may admit that you live in a boring town, if not the most boring town. But I wouldn't raise my hand. I don't believe in boring towns.
My small town was actually published by a website earlier this year as the most boring town in North Dakota. I saw local residents sharing the article. I did not. I didn't even click on it so as to not bring any more traffic or attention to it. Why? Because of the fact that our town, Wishek, N.D., is not boring. And neither is yours.
After a reporter from The Wishek Star called me to comment on Wishek's newest title, I looked up the article after I shared my commentary with the reporter. The "Most Boring Town in Every State" article from Best Life said, "By all measures, America is a pretty cool place. But if you venture too far from the main attractions — the bustling metropolises, the quaint vacation destinations, the jaw-dropping natural wonders — you can find yourself in some achingly drab territory."
Drab territory? Yikes. I serve on our city council and know our rural community is anything but drab or boring. Venture far away from main attractions and you'll find gems of communities and people.
Like my town, the average age of your town might be higher than most speed limits. We might not have a lot of hot entertainment spots. The Open Table app doesn't give you a listing of restaurant choices in our small town.
But instead of boring, our town is vibrant. If you don't see your community as vibrant, take the initiative to make it just what you want. What's vibrant about our community? There aren't enough words to give all the examples I've seen and experienced.
But one vibrant and anything but a drab aspect of our community is our culture. With deep roots in German Russian heritage and tradition, you'll still hear broken German Russian language spoken from older folk to even my husband, who learned sayings and words as a child. The culture impacts foods and our way of life in our small town. Wishek sausage is a staple and a delicacy sold at Stan's Supermarket. People travel to Wishek to buy it by the box loads.
Our economy drives our small town, with an array of small businesses, including one I am a part with my husband, his parent and our employees.
Aside from selling thousands of pounds of sausage a week, our small town showcases both Case IH and John Deere dealerships and Ford and Chevrolet dealerships, not a common sight from most rural towns of 1,000 people and certainly not found in boring towns. Red or green tractors, Chevy or Ford trucks in rural America drives who people are. It also brings people to town. After you shop for your next tractor or pickup truck, you can stop by the Western Shop for your workwear, jeans, boots and my personal favorite, pearl snap shirts.
We might be missing hot entertainment posts but we find our ways to create fun that is anything but boring. On Thursday nights from fall through spring, I am a part of a women's bowling league team. I am the worst bowler in the league but it gives me an opportunity to connect with friends and clear my mind. The league is comprised of women from 20 years younger than me through women who could be 40 years older than me — but no one is asking or telling. In larger communities with more to do, I wouldn't bowl. Yet I also would miss out on the opportunity to connect with and know women of all different walks of life and ages.
One aspect of our town is safety. Without traffic or a stoplight, kids can freely walk to the park, ride a bicycle to a friend's house, visit the local swimming pool or go buy ice cream at the local ice cream/hamburger joint without fear. We know the neighbors and if we don't, we'll get to know them real quick. Two big weekends in the summer are booked with a Kickoff the Summer event and the local county fair.
The local commerce group plans activities year-round from the 90 plus years running of Sauerkraut Day each October, to Santa Day, where every child is given a choice of a toy donated by local businesses, to an upcoming Easter egg hunt in the park. Our four churches provide youth groups, classes, training, teaching and fellowship. The Senior Center serves meals open to anyone and you can get in on some evenings of cards there, too.
Drab territory can create vibrant communities. If you don't love what you have in your town no matter it's location, average age, restaurant count or entertainment options, participate in what it does have to offer and invite a neighbor, friend or bring your kids. Or you can attend an event by yourself and connect with new faces. If you think there's nothing to do, create the space and event you dream of or long for in your community. Don't plan in a silo by yourself — network, collaborate and partner with others to build up the community you desire.
My town isn't defined by a title, written by someone who has never visited and simply is reading some statistics. Drab territory creates vibrant towns.