I was born in a small town


When I was a young boy I was positive that a big chunk of the world resided in my little town.

I knew there were other places. I saw them on the news, on a map or pictures in a book. Sometimes I’d see a faraway town in a movie and wonder if it was real.

Burlington was 80 miles north of Seattle, Washington. Every now and then we’d take the trip south to the big city and visit relatives.

Seattle was a different world full of magical roads and fast walking people. The cars were faster, the trucks bigger and the buildings touched the stars.


I knew I didn’t belong in that city which explains why there was always a fear that I would be left behind.

In my valley I was certain only two towns existed besides my own. The big town across the river known as Mt. Vernon and our border town, Sedro-Woolley.

Sedro Wolley

In many ways Sedro-Woolley felt like home. It had a history similar to Burlington where a lot of my family use to live. But there was something else. I could feel it welcome me like an old friend.

My hometown took care of me. Every day I was safe and everything around me was mine.

The trees belonged to me. The river and fields knew my name and our rocks were one of a kind. Amazing, don’t you think.

Burlington 1

During the summer days my town smelled like strawberries, our butterflies danced to the breeze and we danced in the backyard until our legs couldn’t move.


At night everyone ate corn on the cob and cucumbers smothered in vinegar and pepper. And just before we fell to sleep we searched the sky for a new star.

Once a year we traveled to a far off country called Canada. The locals looked like us and dressed like us. Their money was pretty and their trees looked the same. But I could tell we didn’t belong.

Our sky was the bluest in the summer and the prettiest in the winter.



During the spring the blackbirds would come to visit and nest in our tallest tree. They were the only blackbirds in the world and our trees were one of a kind.

One day I was told a secret that the caboose would be sad if I didn’t wave as it passed by our house. I made a promise that it would never be sad as long as I was around.

Burlington 2

Our train was the only one in the world and a busy one at that. It raced west and east disappearing into far off places. Sometimes the engineer would wave at me and that was the greatest thing ever.

 It was a time when the world was small and young like me. Where the sound of the train and the warmth of its tracks were full of wonder and surprise.

I have a feeling I write about my town in everything I do. The home I grew up in, the people I knew and the feeling I had will always draw me near.

My town was one of a kind and I have a feeling it was just like yours.



Happy Friday Everyone!!!


38 thoughts on “I was born in a small town

  1. A lovely post, Bryan. I have always lived in a big city so I don’t know about small town life really, other than reading books and blogs like yours. The thing that always strikes me is the sense of community. You don’t get that in modern cities, even in the suburbs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the things I’ll never forget is Friday night football. If there was ever a time to rob someones house that was it. We were all there. 🙂 Happy you enjoyed it. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Bryan! Makes me want to visit Sedro-Woolley. (True confession: when I first read that name in one of your posts, I thought you’d made it up. 😀 )

    I grew up in a town that, at the time, was a great town to grow up in. Unfortunately, it has now become an economically depressed hell-hole of poverty and crime and decay. I never go back. I prefer to remember how it was.

    I’m very happy that you can still enjoy the town you grew up in!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, Biff. Yes, Sedro-Woolley is a one of a kind name. About a decade ago they were a wrestling powerhouse winning 6 or 7 state titles in a row. I haven’t been to the valley in years. Some parts have changed but for the most part it’s still a beautiful place.

    I’m sorry on your end. It’s sad when things take a turn for the worse. You are right, you do have the memories but still….it’s not right when those things happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I grew up in a small town (population roughly 2,500). Your post took me way back to how I saw my town as a child. You perfectly replicated it.

    Volumes could be written about the pros and cons of small towns. But I think if you grew up in one, they leave a mark on you — in so many ways.

    Big city neighborhoods have a small town feel to me these days, but without most of the disadvantages of a small town.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Paul. We live in Eugene, Oregon. It is a big town. About 120,000 or so but it is so spread out it feels small. The town I wrote about was a lot like yours. Small population. We all knew each other and yes, there were pros and cons.

      You are right, it does leave a mark. There will always be something special about it.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. “The trees belonged to me. The river and fields knew my name and our rocks were one of a kind.”

    Amazing, indeed! I kind of love your home town more than mine now. How’d you do that?

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Great post Bryan. I read this with great respect for your town. After I finished I thought this would make a great kids book. Do you publish children’s books? This was excellent. Your last line was fantastic. Well done. I look forward to reading more of your posts. PS Did you grow up near Ferndale, WA? Thanks! Reid

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You made my day, Dutch. 🙂

    I do not write children’s books but I’m happy you enjoyed it. This was one of the easiest posts I ever wrote. It came straight from the heart. Special memories.

    Ferndale was north of us, near Canada. Maybe a 20 minute drive. They were a tough football rival, I remember that. You’re bringing back some memories. Thank you for the comments.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post, Bryan! You beautifully captured that feeling of being young and living in a special small town. Had to laugh at your comment on crossing into Canada! I felt the same way when we travelled to the US for family vacations.


  9. I always thought Burlington, WA was a small town (pop 8783) until I moved to Barron, WI (pop 3318). Your post brings back fond memories. Makes me miss home.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Love you too, brother. I am so, so, so proud of you and am looking forward to reading Dempsey’s Grill.


    1. Absolutely!! I can still see myself sitting on your lap in a recliner in Grandpa Joe and Grandma Helen’s living room. And you will always be my brother from another mother!


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