Photograph by Guy Harvey Photography
One of the best things about living in a small Midwestern town is being able to enjoy the charm of a town square. Town squares make me think of a time before people shopped at malls and when the town was the center of commerce and community celebrations. They remind me of a time when small businesses thrived and people could make a good living working for themselves and providing services and goods locally. You knew the owner of the hardware store, you took your television into the local repair shop when it went on the blink, and you relied on a corner store for a place to get a quart of milk.
I think my community of Fairfield, Iowa, is lucky to have a town green that has become the perfect venue for our numerous gatherings. It helps give us a sense of belonging to see our friends showing up at musical concerts, art walks, and cultural events. Psychologists recognize the innate need of human beings to belong and see faces they recognize everyday.
Our town square has a central Gazebo in the middle of a park and is surrounded by streets and shops on four sides. And each year, after Thanksgiving, for as long as I’ve lived here (since 1983), the town has put up the same winter holiday lights and decorations that have been part of its tradition since the fifties. We are joined and connected with proceeding generations by our enjoyment of the lights, the Santa House, the reindeer, and all of the other symbols of the season that have delighted children and adults for decades.
Happy Holidays to Everyone in the World from Fairfield, Iowa.