Small town surprises


Small town surprises

By Joanie Buettgen

Copyright 2010

If you live in the city…that’s too bad.

I’m proud to say that we live in a rural community. Most of our town consists of hardworking, blue-collar people. The heritage is mostly German and Swedish; I don’t know if that has anything to do with my story but, I’m half German-I like to think it’s a big part.

The following conversation happened just this week, at our local bank.

The mayor of Watertown was rushing by the window, spotted me inside and came in. “I’ve been looking for you, I saw your truck!” said Mayor McDonald.

“Oh…what do you need?” I asked.

“We miss seeing you at our Friday meetings, we want you to be an honorary member, please come back,” said McDonald.

The reason I have not been attending; is that the membership is expensive for someone who is unemployed.

I was stunned and a bit choked up. “I’ll plan on attending Friday’s meeting!” I said.  

After the mayor left the building, the teller, handed me my photo copies she had made for me.

“What do I owe you?” I asked.

“Nothing,” said Ruth, with a knowing smile.

On this particular day, I had a number of errands, and my last stop was the hardware store. Walking inside there were two people eager to help me. One was the cashier and the other was the store manager.

“What can I help you with today?” he asked.

“I have a wheel-barrow tire that needs replacing.” I said.

“Let me take a look.” The manager took special care of the number on the side of the tire and we went back inside the store.

“I’ll just order you a new one…it’ll be here in a couple of days. What’s your name and telephone number? I’ll call you when it comes in.”

As I was leaving he shouted, “Make sure you remove the old tire and tube, that’ll save you some money.”

I grew up in the suburbs, population 75,000. We’ve lived in this small community of 4,000 for over 25 years and I’m sure glad we do.

Published: Minnesota Moments Magazine, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, and the National Barn Alliance. Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.

Social Networking: Blog:,, www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.


One response »

  1. Ok, so the lady at the bank didn’t charge you but knew who you were and the manager of the hardware store didn’t know your name. You must go to the bank and lot more often than you go to the hardware store. My town is around 25,000 and every clerk in Wal-Mart knows me by name. Guess that tells you something about how I spend my time…and money. Enjoyed the post. I spent my teenage years living in a town of 150 and going to a nearby town to school, population 349.

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