Maybe a good day …

My dog and I step out of the house into darkness. Gray on the horizon tells of the fast-coming sunrise as we go on an early morning walk. The small town that I gratefully call home is a close-knit farming and ranching community. Sounds, smells, sights, and the general feel of things attest to this in the early morning.

Semi-trucks and some cars can be heard way over on the highway. The rumble of tractors or other farm equipment is a faint whisper, maybe from miles away. What is that faint aroma on the distant breeze? I take a deep breath. Yeah, somebody must have driven over a skunk. The local service station already has some people getting their coffee and local word-of-mouth news. A few businesses have their owner’s cars parked out back already. Another man is out just walking. We pass by with a “good morning” and a hand shake. Why would anybody in his right mind be out this early if he doesn’t have to be? Oh, right, I guess that would include me.

I hear a steady light clank that is in time with the light breeze. The American Legion has already put up the United States flag and the cable is lightly tapping the pole. The red, white, and blue stand out against the colorless sky. I notice that the football field has already been cleaned up from the game last night. I am sure a group of people will soon be straightening the metal fence that was bent by the losing opponents as they left. It was wrong, but I realize that they were not raised in a place like my hometown. My kids will learn well and right.

The horses in the field at the edge of town don’t draw my dog’s attention, but the doe deer beyond them does. I can hear cows mooing at the sale barn and see many grazing black dots in distant fields. Not a single car or pickup has gone by me that the driver doesn’t wave. I reach the highway and the trucks all politely give me wide berth, except one that has out-of-county plates. Soft horn taps are hellos, not warnings. Two ladies are out walking this morning; they say “hello” and one pats me on the shoulder. Does that ever happen in a big city?

I catch the faint whiff of someone’s woodburning stove; the kind of place where family and friends just sit and enjoy each other’s company. Drinking coffee around here is not to take in liquid, it is to build and cement friendships. I’ve enjoyed having coffee, and forgotten to drink any. The cold grays are turning to the colors of the sunrise.

Re-entering town, I stop by the post office. My dog stays outside and waits for someone else to stop by and pet her. My box seems to always have a few cards and letters in it. These towns people prefer the personal visit, the hand shake and leisurely chat, but the written word can be kept for a permanence that keeps the memory alive and long.

The night is passing into day light, and the day is growing warmer. Though, the real warmth around here is not from the heat of the sun. I take a few deep breaths. Yes, I think today will be an okay day.