When I first moved down to SE Montana, I thought the town I grew up in, 20,000 or so, was small. But down here, that is considered a big town.
Where we are right now, there’s no fast food restaurants, no franchise restaurants, just your family run restaurants that serve your basic burgers, sandwiches and fried food. There’s one grocery store, known as The Store, IGA, a hardware store, ranch store, and a handful of other stores. No franchises. You get used to that.
You also get used to the markup that comes with it. You get used to bulk grocery shopping. $300 bills at Costco every few months are normal! It may seem like a lot at first but then after a Costco trip, I usually don’t have to grocery shop for Quite the while. We get all our produce from a food co-op so that takes care the produce which we go through the quickest. Grocery shopping is different than if we lived in a town or 15 minutes from a Walmart or any grocery store which has more than a 10 foot long produce aisle. We stock up when we shop in civilization!
When I first came here, I had random strangers come up to me and ask me who I am. “Nikala Smith” wasn’t who I am, to them. They wanted to know Why I’m here; who I married. Or quite often people all know who I am yet I have zero clue who they are! Most people know my husband and if they don’t know him, they know his dad. I’ve had people come up to me, know who I am, who I married and where I live. Yet it’s not creepy. It’s just the small town mentality. Where the foreigners, quite literally!, stand out like a sore thumb! Everyone knows everyone and if they dont, they sure aren’t afraid to find out who they are!
In this town, there’s 4 vets, and no doctors. I would bet that there’s more horse trailers registered in this county than little cars. And more feed trucks than regular pickup trucks. It is much different here than where I grew up! But. You get used to it.
And now this small town has really grown on me. The thought of living just 15 miles from a town with a franchise of Any sort, sounds nice at first but then too busy on a second thought! The isolation grows on you. Knowing I can go for a walk, on the ranch, in any direction and not see any sign of civilization is quite nice actually! Complete openness for as far as the eye can see. Right where we aren’t, there’s not much for trees. Which I miss. But the openness really is nice. I can see where the cows are so I can avoid them since I always have a dog pack with me on my walks. We can see the sunrise and the sunset out our two windows. You can watch a storm forming, rolling in and then passing over. You can see if there’s any animals where they should or shouldn’t be out in the pastures. I can see how away Jed is when they’re moving cows.
If you have the right mindset, and allow yourself to accept wherever you are, life is simply better! This may not at All be the same where I grew up but it’s home. And I love it.