Small town livin'
Trip Start Jan 01, 2010
57Trip End May 14, 2010
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When we first pulled into Springfield, we felt a little bit like we stepped back about a century. Just one road right through town, with various stores lining the way. Our lodging that night was at the Stage Stop Hotel, which dates back to the late 1800's, when horse-drawn stagecoaches would stop at the then-bustling metropolis of Springfield, which was a popular stop for caravans traveling between Mexico and Canada.
We were just there to do a show at the local high school a half-mile up the road, but the Stage Stop would do for us, too.
First of all, this hotel was the quaintest, most historical little hotel we've seen. It still maintains its Old West charm, and it is owned and operated by a little old lady, Miss Cherry, who pours every spare dime into this labor of love.
We asked Miss Cherry where she would recommend we eat.
"Well alright, what day is it--Monday? Okay, well you have two options to eat on Monday. There's a Mexican place right up the road. That's pretty good. And at the other end of town, you have the Longhorn Steakhouse."
Steakhouse sounded good. We soon found out that "the other end of town" means no more than a half mile. And, by the way, you didn't expect Longhorn Steakhouse to mean the national chain restaurant, did you? No no. Not in Springfield.
But we enjoyed our late dinner at Longhorn. Kelsey enjoyed a philly cheesesteak (In Texas? I know--but she was craving it--and it was good). And I had that night's 1/2 rack of ribs special. Yum.
Our server was a nice young lady--pretty perky for working past 8:00 at night. She looked pretty young--which was verified by her sporting a "Seniors!" high school T-shirt. No doubt she attends the high school we'd be visiting the next day. We thought it would be creepy, though to say "Hey--see you at the assembly tomorrow! 1:30--be there!" So.. instead, we just tipped her and retreated to our little room in Stage Stop.
The next day, we didn't have to leave until about 11:45 (Man, we have a cushy job sometimes). We drove the one minute jaunt over to the school, and met with our contact person. Once we got the information we needed, we went back to the van to pull it up to the gym, while he went to go get some student help for us. By the time we got back out of the van to meet them, he had gathered about five helpers--the student council. And who should walk out with them, none other than our server from the night before! She recognized us, too "Hey! They ate at Longhorn last night!"
"Thanks for dinner!"
It felt like something in a movie, kinda.
But they were great help. The show went smoothly, and we were out of there again in no time.
That was the entirety of our Colorado experience this semester. Nice change of pace.
Small town living though.. that's a different world. We chatted wth our contact person, the school counselor, for a while during our down time. He was saying how Springfield is actually the biggest town for miles around, and the high schoolers in the small neighboring towns think that it's a really big deal to come to Springfield. And those towns are a big deal to those kids who live out on ranches, where it's a 45 minute drive just to get to school. (And we look around Springfield and think to ourselves--"Really? We've stopped to use the bathroom in bigger towns than this...")
From Springfield, you have to drive an hour to get to a Walmart. You have to drive three hours to get to a mall. He said families from Springfield will make a little weekend mini-vacation out of traveling to those cities where you can find some shopping and restaurants.
How shell-shocked would these kids be if the saw, say, Dallas? Let alone Chicago or New York...
Kelsey and I realized that we're fortunate enough to come from backgrounds that allow us to function in either big cities or small towns, and not be completely overwhelmed by either.
But between the two, I prefer the small town mentality. So much more innocent, laid-back... no stress.
Before the assembly at school, one class came in about twenty minutes early, because they weren't aware that the principal wanted the show to be fifteen minutes later. Kelsey informed the teacher that the show wouldn't be for a little while longer, but they could stay and hang out if they wanted.
Well, the teacher decided to pass the time by telling jokes and riddles to her sixth grade class. Every single student in that group was engaged--trying to guess the answers, laughing at the real answers, and trying to contribute their own jokes. They had a blast.
Kelsey noted to me--"Wow.. that would never fly with sixth-graders in New Jersey."
Hah! True though! If you gave a group of New Jersey sixth-graders fifteen minutes with nothing to do, I would fear for my life and the safety of our equipment! Any teacher trying to entertain them with jokes would probably be met with waves of disrespect and complete unamusement.
But not these kids! Nope! The small town innocence showed itself capable of keeping kids young and playful, keeping teachers creative, upbeat, and happy, and keeping Camfel technicians wanting more.
Take care, Springfield.