|Photo courtesy of Mayberry.Wiki|
The other day I left the house at 6:55. I had to run to Walmart for something, then I stopped at McDonald's for oatmeal and coffee ... and got to work at 7:24!
The population here is about 120,000. That's a bit of a misnomer because it only counts those within the legal city limits, and the city has pretty much grown to the boundaries of the entire county. The population of the county is around 181,000, which I feel is a more representative figure. There is still a little room for growth on the north side, and a fair amount to grow into on the west side ... but I don't want it to grow any more on the west!
Despite the fact that there are close to 200,000 people here, it is surprisingly easy to get from point A to point B (until they start work on the cloverleaf at the highway and expressway junction ... that will create a traffic nightmare for a long time!). You can pretty much get anywhere you want to go in 15 minutes or less, and that's not an exaggeration.
I was talking to someone new to the area and they were asking about how to get someplace, on the other side of town. I told them the route I would take, and they asked how long it would take to get there. I told them about 10-15 minutes. They laughed and said that every time they've asked someone how long it takes to get somewhere, the reply is always "About 10-15 minutes". It wasn't long before they confided that everyone was right ... you really can get anywhere you want to go in 15 minutes or less!
Some of my favorite places on earth are small towns. One of them, Ocracoke, North Carolina, has less than 1,000 full time residents! It's accessible only by ferry, private plane or boat, so it's not easy to get to ... but boy howdy ... is it ever worth the effort!
I love my hometown. It's big enough to have most of the amenities of city life, but we don't have the traffic or crime that plague the large metropolitan areas. It's not as safe as Ocracoke (few places are!), but it's a relatively safe place to live, work, and raise a family.
I live on the border of the north and the south, and this is as far north as I ever care to live. We (sadly) don't get the Gulf breezes that warm the coast, but we also (fortunately) don't get the smothering blizzards that drown the north. We can get by with jackets until December, and can usually put up our winter coats in late February or early March. Spring (mercifully) comes early and winter comes late. We've had some monster snows in the past, and the cripple the city. We're prepared for mild snow, not blizzards.
As much as I enjoy living here, I long to retire to a small, sleepy town in Georgia or the Carolina's. Mayberry sounds like heaven to me! Retirement is years in the future ... but a girl can dream, can't she?