Before we moved here, I understood it would be hard to get to know people in a small town. When I was in 6th grade we moved to a small town in Missouri and I was told the first day of school by one of the girls in my class that "We don't like you because you're new." Well, at least she was honest, huh? But I knew from moving there that it can take a while to get anyone to give you the time of day without being suspicious of your every word. I guess I'd forgotten how bad it can be. Also, that town, while small, was 3 times the size of Coleman.
When we moved here, we went to the bank to open an account. We could have stuck with the bank we were using in Grapevine, but we wanted to support our local community. So we walked in to open an account and you'd have thought we were trying to rob the bank instead! They seemed very suspicious of anyone wanting to move to Coleman. Well, it just so happened that the newspaper ran an article about us that very morning. The bank employee helping us hadn't seen it yet, but apparently she saw it while helping us because she left, then came back all friendly and talking about the article.
Okay, so fast forward to two years later. Other than church, I barely know anyone here. I can't figure out how to meet people. I am pretty busy homeschooling my children. But we try to get involved. We asked at the library shortly after moving here if my older boys could volunteer. I explained they both had volunteered at the Grapevine library and enjoyed it and they would like to volunteer here. The librarian looked at me like I was from another planet. I guess no one volunteers at the library? But she was very friendly and found something for them to do. Well, for Mitchell anyway as Stephen really liked volunteering for story time and there isn't one here. Mitchell volunteered every week for a while. I think he quit due to illness and we just kind of forgot after that.
So I still don't know many people. Neither do my children. We've met a couple of homeschooling families that we get together with each week. But the children want to do something to make a difference. Who doesn't? I really feel that all people of all ages need to feel they have a purpose. Without that, a person can easily fall into depression. I read on the MOMYS list about a family who delivered meals every week for Meals on Wheels. She said her children would bring notes and drawings and such. They got to know the people they delivered meals to and they really looked forward to it each week. And she said several of the recipients of the meals claimed that the visit with her children was the highlight of their week. Well, this sounded like something I could do. I thought it over, then mentioned it to the kids. They loved the idea. They nagged me to call and sign us up to volunteer.
Thursday I called and was told they really needed help, but the person I needed to talk to was already out for the day. Call back after 10:15 tomorrow.
Friday I called at 11:30 and was told she was out delivering meals and probably wouldn't be back. Call again Monday.
Today I called at 10:20 and she wasn't in yet. This time whoever I talked to offered to take my name and number and have her call me back. This person was very friendly. She may be the same person I talked to Thursday and Friday. I don't know. But so far so good. Nothing but friendliness and politeness.
Then C. called me back. I told her we were wanting to volunteer to deliver meals. She told me rather rudely that they don't need help. She said they only deliver on Tuesdays and Thursdays and they have plenty of volunteers. She asked if it was just me and I said, well, myself and my children. Again she said they have plenty of volunteers. Then she told me she has my name and number and if they ever need our help, she'll call me. I got the distinct feeling I was being totally blown off. I hung up the phone and cried. I know it sounds like a stupid thing to cry about, but it really hurt to be treated like a criminal for asking to help! It was such a shock after expecting to be needed. And notice the discrepancies in the stories? She wasn't in Friday because she was delivering, but they don't deliver on Fridays. And they really need help, but no they don't. Why was I lied to? Why were they rude to me? I wasn't asking to receive meals. We eat quite well, thank you. We simply wanted to help.
I just really don't understand. Okay, it's a small town and maybe she doesn't know who I am so she's suspicious of me. But why not ask me to fill out an application or something so they can check on me without losing the opportunity to have me volunteer?
And then I had to tell the kids. They were very excited about doing this. I told them that I was told they don't need any help. Of course, it didn't make sense to them either. They had questions, but I had no answers. What a disappointment.
Now while it's easy to focus on the negative, I'm going to try to focus on the positive. I don't have to re-adjust our schedule one day a week to go drive around and deliver meals to people right at lunchtime when we'd rather be eating anyway.
More importantly, we HAVE met some really great people. We have friendly neighbors that I'm pretty sure we could count on to help us if we needed it. Hey, one of them even OFFERED to lend Roger tools if he needs them. Who could ask for a better neighbor? I love our church. We have a great pastor who is willing to follow the LORD no matter how hard it gets at times and preaches some great sermons. Our youth pastor truly challenges my children to think and not just accept something because he said so. So they are learning to believe in Christ and follow Him AND be able to answer why they believe what they believe. All of my children absolutely love their Sunday School teachers and I think that's because they feel loved by them. They are wonderful women who sacrifice their time to make a difference in a child's life. And it's working. There are the other homeschooling families we've met who, aside from helping us not feel like total freaks as the only homeschoolers in town, are fun to hang around with.
And then there are all the friendly people at the post office, the grocery store, etc that we don't really know very well, but they are nice people and make errand running actually enjoyable.
Well, that helped. Isn't it strange how one rude person can make things seem so dreary when really they aren't so bad at all? One bad apple can spoil the whole bushel, but not if you pluck it out (in this case-- out of my thoughts) before they all get spoiled.