Yesterday I pulled over on the short side-road next to the Skiddy cemetery to help a large turtle cross into the ditch. With my new-found friend safe in the ditch and turtle pee on my boot, I looked over at the small town of White City off in the distance. I’ve seen this image many times as I come home this way every day. I laughed to myself about the illusion the grain elevator and the water tower give of being so far apart from each other, but I know they are only about 3 blocks away from each other. It’s a small town, so what isn’t 3 blocks away? I took a minute to think about a few things like the upcoming 4th of July celebration and how this week has always been one of my favorite times of the year. For a small town, White City has the ability to pull things together by putting on a parade, ball games and fireworks all infused with that old magic ingredient called home.
I know White City isn’t the only community in which this happens, but it’s the one I live in so I can speak first hand about it. I also sat there for a minute and thought about friends I haven’t seen for a while. Once in a while a name or face pops into your head and you wonder what they’re doing now. From my vantage point at the cemetery the town seems so far away, but the fact is it’s only about 8 miles. Just like old friends, at times they too seem like a distant memory but actually they’re not that far away. We can always pull a memory or two out of nowhere closing the gap between time and distance, and by scanning the horizon I know some of those friends are just a stone’s throw from town. Much like the illusion of the grain elevator and water tower.
Now that social media has played such a large role in getting us all back in touch, it’s easier than ever to know what everyone’s up to. But, I will say there is nothing that beats lunch with a friend and the laughter that follows. We take so many things for granted when we’re young and reckless that we never saw the wave of life coming. Some caught that wave out of town while others hung on tightly to the edge of town. Neither being wrong or right, it’s just the way things ended up. We still have those friends whether our paths ever cross - sooner or later. Of course it can never be too late.
Who knew helping a turtle across the road would give me so much to think about? Was this his big break from the small ditch he grew up in to a bigger world where the pace is much faster and the grass is taller? Do turtles have a “fast pace?” Was he returning back to a place where he grew up? Was this turtle a symbol of small town life? Crazy questions for a small town guy like me. I may never know the answers, but it made me feel good to get him off the road.
After a few minutes of taking in the scenery, I fired up my Road King and headed into town. Another confused turtle saved from what might have been, and some memories of friends that will always be…friends.