Small towns have their own ways of doing things. If you are just passing through, you might not notice. But if you are doing your best to get lost and found, per my suggestion, here are a few things you might keep your eyes peeled for.
Many hamlets still have a noon siren. It’ll startle you if you’re not expecting it. I always check my watch or the clock in my pickup when it goes off to see if the satellites are keeping up. Back in the day, the noon siren would signify lunchtime. And if a fire broke out, a different siren pattern would sound. Now with the advent of modern technology, perhaps they are just a reminder of the past, but remember that the sirens don’t rely on satellites and some towns are still without cell reception.
Speaking of fires, every hamlet has its own volunteer fire department and a squad of locals ready to rush to your rescue. My neighbor has been a volunteer firefighter for nearly 50 years. The radio he wears on his belt all day alerts volunteer firefighters to help out with all kinds of emergencies. He’s helped me out of a jam or two over the years. Nearly every volunteer fire department has an annual event to raise money for the services they provide and the equipment they need to do it. A Pancake Jamboree? A BBQ? They’ll put out a sign to let you know and, no matter where you’re from, if you stop in and buy some food and a raffle ticket and say thanks, you’ll be glad you did.
Ever wonder what folks do with their trash in these little Catskill towns? Ever seen a garbage truck on one of the country roads? Nope? That’s because you have to take your trash — sorted and nearly alphabetized — to the town dump for disposal. Most dumps have two days a week of operation and limited hours, at that. If you want to get rid of your trash before the bears get into it, you have to be organized.
I have been to a few town dumps in the Catskills and, maybe it’s me, but they really are fascinating. Glass over here. Cardboard neatly stacked over here. Newspapers tied and neatly piled up. And the guy who works in my local dump has amassed quiet a collection of interesting items. Maybe someday, if the part from this doesn’t fix what’s broken in that, he will make something interesting from them.
XOXO Farm Girl
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