“You’re moving where?”
That’s the first question I received from people when I announced I was moving from Oklahoma City to Canadian, Texas. The next question was, “Why?” It has always baffled people and probably always will. Why move from a large, metropolitan city to a tiny little hamlet 45 minutes away from the nearest Walmart. My answer then and now has remained the same. I fell in love with the town.
At the time of the 2010 census, about 60 million people live in rural America. That’s a lot of people choosing a small-town lifestyle. Why? Well, I can’t answer that question for all small towns, but I can tell you three reasons to choose Canadian, Texas.
1. Traffic – or the blissful lack thereof. Every time I go back to visit my family in OKC, I encounter traffic. TONS of traffic. And Oklahoma isn’t even a town that’s all that known for its bad traffic. In Canadian, we have “rush minute.” That’s when it takes a minute or so to turn out into traffic as it gets a little busy on the highway. There’s no road rage in Canadian, but there is a lot of waving. You’ll get a wave from whomever you pass as you’re driving down the street. Whether you know them or not, people wave at you as you pass by. When we asked what you like about small town life on our Facebook page, Hayley Ward said, “I can run all my errands in Canadian in the time it takes to get to one stop in OKC. And you can always park close to the door.” You get spoiled by only having to leave the house five minutes before work or church, which means yes… living in Canadian also means you might just get to sleep in a little bit.
2. Raising a Family – Jeanette Carter wrote on our Facebook, “Living in a small town like Canadian is the best place to raise a family and everyone is so friendly and always willing to help when a person is in need and a dang good school system!!!” Canadian does have a dang good school system! With smaller teacher to student ratios, laptops for every high school student, and award winning academic and sports teams, Canadian is a great place to raise children. Small towns are some of the last places you can trust that your kids can walk to school or the pool or the skate park safely. Outside of school, there are art classes, a new gymnastics company is being built, art classes, sports activities at the CCC, and not to mention the great outdoors! There may not be quite as many activities as might be available in a larger city, but that leaves more time for your children to really just be children! There is help all around you in Canadian. Not only is there far less crime than in large cities, but there’s also extra eyes looking out windows as your youngster is walking to their friend’s house. Cynthia Fuentez told this story on our Facebook page. “I’ve lived here all my life, graduated in 2003 and when I got married last year I got 2 bonus kids. It’s been scary and challenging but I don’t think I could of done this step mom thing anywhere else. I’ve had a few moments where I struggle and don’t know what to do about certain situations or how to punish my kids but all the moms I’ve reached out to have been so helpful and they always tell me, ‘We moms have to stick together.’ They all have helped me with words of wisdom or correcting my kids if I’m not around and like I tell my kids, ‘I will know what you did before you get home so make sure you act right in public and be kind because someone I know is always watching you.’ My kids do love this town and have changed so much in a good way. They came from a big school and were introduced to way [too] much and here they can be kids & walk to the Y or the track and the teachers care about their grades and them. I’m very proud to say I love my hometown there’s no place like Canadian to call home.”
3. Community – By far, the most comments we got from our Facebook users were about community. Lisa Johnson said, “It’s great to see friendly people I know everywhere I go. When there is a crisis, people show up to help.” Carley Beth Rankin added, “I love that businesses can trust to have charges. Every Friday night in the fall feels like Christmas. You walk up to pay at a restaurant to discover your meal has already been taken care of. When you can wish someone happy birthday by their first name on the Happy State sign. OR when the local deputy picks you up at your house to take you to school on your birthday. Small towns are indeed, small. But our hearts are bigger because of it!”
I personally have felt the loving arms of this community wrap around me when I faced a cancer diagnosis. I received cards, letters, flowers, checks – from people all over Canadian. I received hugs from people in the grocery store that I barely knew, but they were praying for me. I was strengthened by the stories of other cancer survivors and my fight was victorious. I have also seen this town come together when the teenage son of a close friend died. I helped coordinate the outpouring of this town in food, finances, and loving neighbors. This town gives like no other and I am honored to have born witness to it.
There are many more reasons why Canadian, Texas is a wonderful place to live. Please, let us know your reasons in the comments below! I want to finish this blog with one more quote from our Facebook Page from Tandi Fletcher:
“Hospitality always wins over customer service.
Simple is always better.
I grew up in Canadian. I live in the Houston area now. I will always appreciate where I came from. I will always want [my children] to grow up in a town like Canadian.
Authenticity and grit. Beauty and simplicity.”
Authenticity, grit, beauty, and simplicity. Maybe I should have called this blog SEVEN reasons why living in a small town is awesome. 🙂