Yesterday late afternoon, sirens and red vehicles raced past our house toward the county line; soon that road was closed. We have kids in that county, and friends in that area, and we had them and their welfare on our minds.
That's a small-town feeling, even though our rural township is large enough to be a city, population-wise. Any emergency siren has us mentally "counting noses" of relatives and friends and sending up a prayer that whoever it is (even a stranger among our townfolk), all will go well for them.
If we had chosen city life, a siren might just have been a siren. There would not have been that quality of our own small-town experience of knowing that many lives touched by the sirens might have a close connection with our own lives. Or that many people in the crews that rushed to help were people we had come to know as friends throughout our many years here.
I experienced the temporary loss of that small-town feeling about sirens when my husband and I (and our eldest son, a baby) lived for several years in New York City, during construction of the World's Fair. Sirens sounded, seemingly continuous, through that broad expanse of bouroughs night and day, until they were little more than background noise, mixed with the 24-hour sound of garbage trucks, delivery trucks and other city activity.
While I admittedly enjoyed the city more than my husband did, our house and a large portion of our hearts kept residence "back home" where both of us had grown up; where our families lived; where we had chosen to marry and settle down to raise our family.
For that brief period in New York, I longed for my hometown and its people, where I could walk down any street and meet someone I knew; someone who even probably knew my dad, my mom, my uncle or aunt or cousin...
A place where sirens always spurred concern and were not just noises going by.
Home sweet home. Our roots are deep.