Category Archives: Smalltown Life

Heeeere’s Johnny (Outhouses Have Come a Long Way)

I grew up at a time when every camp—and these were camps, not cottages—had an outhouse. My grandparents built a camp on a small pond up north in the 1940s. The outhouse was named Myra. As far as I knew while I was growing up, the moniker had no significance, but I’ve since learned that […]

I Think It’s Time to Shorten the Political Season

The political campaign season in this country is too long.  Do we really need two years and hundreds of millions of dollars to decide who should lead our nation? I, like most Americans, have decided whom I will vote for even before the campaign begins—it’s the person running against the candidate I hate.  So spare […]

Why Average Joe Will Vote for Donald Trump

(The following story appears as part of Brian Daniels’s book, Thoughts of an Average Joe, which was published by Islandport Press in 2014. “I’d Vote for an Honest Politician” seems timely, considering today’s political circus. More information about the book here.)           I’d Vote for an Honest Politician  How refreshing would it be to have […]

Nicknames . . . Don’t Call Me Rufus!

A lot of folks, especially men, in Smalltown go by a name other than that which appears on their birth certificates.  On East Street alone, we had a “Peeno”, a “Nuckie”, and a “Frenchy”, to name a few.   I’ve noticed that the use of nicknames is far more common in rural America than in […]

Need Directions? . . . Get Lost!

It’s hard to get good directions.  Last October, I was upcountry and asked a local where I might find some partridges (yeah, I know there are no partridges up there).  But, ask about grouse, and you’re sure to be instantly labeled as “one of them highbrows from down country.” Anyway, Alton, at the Lincoln Mobil […]

I Miss the Smalltown Barbershop

Smalltown lost its barbershop, an important social center for the men in this community, about ten years ago when old man Whitney dropped dead while giving my Uncle Herbert his monthly flat-top. Roland Whitney was old. He was the only barber I’d ever seen for a haircut until I was pushing fifty. Dad would take […]

My Grandfather Shouldn’t Have Been Driving

I remember when I was a kid, my grandparents would come to visit and my dad would always ask the same question when they’d arrive. “How was your trip?” “Great,” Grandpa would answer. “Your mother drove all the way. All I had to do was hold onto the steerin’ wheel.” It got funnier every time […]