I love my hometown; although small, it is a thriving community. There are many aspects that make a small town thrive and function, and we have them all. Life in a small town is more fulfilling than meets the eye. We have the basics needed, we benefit more than just ourselves, and the quality of life is simpler no hustle and bustle.
I live in the small town of Elfrida, in the southeast corner of Arizona. It was often the big joke, while I was growing up that while driving through if you blinked you would miss the town entirely. As a small town, we have what is needed. We have adequate police protection, a fire department, loaded with volunteers, a medical facility, an elementary school, a high school, two stores, two gas stations, and four churches in this tiny town, with active members in each church. Naturally, volunteer work is not limited to the fire department; you will find them at the schools and the community center as well. There is no sales tax, no mayor to impose town laws. Our schools have won numerous awards, both in the elementary and high school, for being the best in the state. The high school has set state records in both athletics and academics.
Elfrida was once famous for its crop of peaches. People from all over the state knew about Grizzle Peaches, and there was no comparison from anywhere else to their sweet juicy taste. In this valley, we harvest chili, which is grown specifically for the Macayo’s Mexican Restaurants in Phoenix and Tucson. Also grown here is corn, which provides a large percentage of the corn tortillas used in the west. Other crops grown are maze, which is a grain crop, alfalfa, apples, cherries, pecans, grapes, and pinto beans. Many raise cattle here, and the land is capable of growing cotton.
I hated life growing up in a small town; the opportunities were limited, and of course no fun for a kid or teenager. We didn’t go to movies, play video games or hang out at the local mall; we were however, creative in our fun. That is where the benefits come in. We invented ways not to be bored, which means we went outside. We rode horses, played cowboys and Indians with cap guns, and with our very own homemade bows and arrows, built forts, and dug foxholes. Our swing sets were made out of old tires, or a board for the seat. We even played C.H.I.P.S. while riding our banana seat bicycles. In a small town, there are options that are not available to you when you come from the big city. If I want to go camping I can do that anywhere between 5-10 miles with a maximum of 30 miles from my home. I don’t have to travel a hundred miles to go camping and when I get there, find 20 people at the same camp site. I can go hiking or target shooting right down the road.
The temperatures are cooler in the summer and more comfortable year round. We actually have about as close as you can get to four seasons in Arizona. We are a self-sustained community. People are friendlier and give you a warm, genuine hello even if you are a stranger. I moved from Phoenix where all that my children had for a back yard seemed no larger than a refrigerator cardboard box. I feared for their safety; refusing to let them ride their bikes or turn my back for two seconds, which made my 10 year old feel untrusted. Over protective mother, maybe; but since we’ve moved they can run, play, go over to their friends houses’, ride their bikes, do all the things that I was able to do while growing up, most of all, they get to be kids. I am here getting an education, to make life better for my children and I, by doing so I am able to let them enjoy the thrills that I experienced. I have been to many different regions of this great nation as well as a handful of different countries since I left after graduation; and I never thought that I would return. No matter where I’ve been or will ever go there’s only once place I call home.