McKibbin’s Scribblin’s: A darn nice community
When people ask me what I like best about this job, the answer is easy. It’s all about being around and meeting people.
This past week is a good example. Last Thursday night, the little preschool kids with seemingly endless energy, running back and forth in front of the stage at Rifle’s Centennial Park, boosting themselves up onto the sides and jumping off, running, always running.
Kids that young aren’t real good interviews, but they don’t have to be. Just their actions remind us what it means to be young. It revived my soul to watch and photograph them and the funny songs they sang made me laugh out loud. Like I said, good for the soul.
Then Friday night, the first thing I saw when I walked over to the community lot for the first Rifle Farmers Market of the season were young and old having fun with these wooden putt-putt golf holes. Watching the players try to beat the obstacles placed on each hole was a kick.
And walking around the lot, seeing the smiling faces of those behind the tables of each booth, and their customers, brought a feeling of community. People gathering together, chatting, listening to well-played music while enjoying a hot dog and lemonade. Summer in a small town, something everyone seemingly recalls fondly if they’re older and always wants to experience if they’re a family with kids.
As Gary Miller said as I was leaving, Rifle finally has a real farmers market. I’d add that things like celebrations, festivals, even just a new neighbor introducing himself to me this past weekend, are what I love about living in a small community. The big cities may have all these kinds of events, but it’s different in a smaller city or town.
There’s a sharing, a common experience if you will, that’s unlike living in a metro area. At least that’s how I feel.
With Independence Day a day away, I guess you can say I’ve developed Norman Rockwell-colored glasses about what America is about to me. As far as I know, Rifle’s never held a Fourth of July parade. Sure, you have the kids bike parade and fun and games in the park, which is great. But it’s not the same as a real parade, like the one during the Garfield County Fair. Guess that’s something that will always be missing if I want to think of Rifle as a true “Rockwell” town.
But I’ll take it. In a heartbeat.
Rifle’s going through some tough times right now, not for the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last time. One longtime resident told me at the farmers market that the last bust several decades ago lasted about ten years. If that’s the case, we might start to turn things around in less than five years. Not soon enough for most folks, I’m sure.
But things did get better last time. Eventually, they will again. In the meantime, let’s all enjoy the summer, the farmers markets, the Sunday concerts in the park, the time with family and friends.
So on the Fourth, pour yourself a glass of ice cold lemonade, sit out on the porch, wave at your neighbors and enjoy. It may not be perfect, but we live in a pretty darn nice little community.
Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.
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