After spending 18 years living in the woods, we made a 2 mile move back into town. Our little house sits on the corner of your typical neighborhood street and what is known here as "The Highway."
The highway is Route 2, a meandering road that hug's the Rock River and when followed, guides one through a scenic and peaceful section of Northern Illinois from the state line to the Rock Falls. Long sections of the highway follow the river providing breathtaking scenery; bluffs, trees and wildlife before delivering you into the next small midwestern town along the way.
Byron, my town, is actually and legally a city. It has been called the smallest city in Illinois. It was once known as, "The City with a Smile," and is now called, "The Gateway to the Rock River Valley." The city designation cracks me up. Before the new library was built, the tallest building in the city was 2 stories with the exception of the fire station's practice tower which might be 3 or 4 stories.
Our business district is 1 block. We have 2 grocery stores, 1 pharmacy, 11 restaurants ( and only 1 fast food chain where the service is always a crap shoot - casting doubt on the fast part) and 8 bars.
There are now ( and this is HUGE) 3 stoplights in the city. They are all lined up along the highway in 1 block increments to control the massive flow of traffic the occurs at 7:40 a.m. when everyone is dropping their children off at school and heading to work and then again at 4-5ish when the nuclear power plant's day shift is heading home. Thank Heavens for the lights! You don't know road rage until you try to turn left out of the Clean and Shine Car Wash and end up doing the old around the block move. . .here, 3 rights do equal a left and can get you to the light where you can finally REALLY turn left. Makes me wonder what we did before the added lights!
And so I live on the corner of a quiet tree-lined street and the highway that is the life vein into this nutshell of a town. Because, what happens here does not stay here. . . it is discussed, whispered and gossiped about ad nauseum in any one of those above described establishments at any time. The good part is, you at least know that someone else will move the spotlight in a small amount of time. It is inevitable. And it travels down the highway at breakneck speeds.
Sometimes I miss the woods!