Small town folks often think that they form a tightly knit community. But I wonder: what does that even mean? That they track each others comings and goings? I believe that.
I think of Warsaw as a tightly knit community. And I think of Madison as not especially tight, though it is a very generous and forgiving (for the most part) community. At the very least, we tend to smile at each other's eccentricities. For instance, this morning, at our local grocery store, a customer brought in her dog, just to show it off. Now, it’s probably in violation of the health code to walk in with a dog (we’re not French after all), but this woman carried her little pooch in and we all admired the dog properly, so that she could walk away with pride.
Elsewhere, she may have been called names. Or politely escorted to the door. Or to a waiting van. Here, we smiled.
At the shop on the corner, I did my share of smiling at people. But, that's work. One smiles at customers. America expects it. By contrast, you should not look for the vendor to smile, say, in Poland. The market economy has not made a significant dent in the demeanor of the sales clerk yet. She or he appear forever to be at odds with the world, or at least their position in it.
If I had to apply the word "tight" to any one set of people, I'd say it describes well my wee family. Very tight. [But not exclusive. There's a difference.]
Tonight, after another late night at the shop, my daughters, Ed and I ate at one the family favorites: Sardine.
And tomorrow, as each summer, I am following daughters to Chicago, where, for at least a day or two, we'll romp and play. In a very tight-knit way.
Communities are formed by grouping people together, right? We were once grouped under a roof and now here we are, still banding together at every opportunity. Amazing (and lovely) how that works.