I'm about midway through Rod Dreher's excellent family-ography, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life. I highly recommend it.
Not having much time today, I'll just note one thing. Those of us who live in big cities and their suburbs really miss out on the closeness that can come from a small town. The love and support that Rod describes in his native Western Louisiana isn't found in San Diego, Los Angeles or any of the places I've lived. It is, however, found in my Cursillo community here in San Diego.
Note: Cursillo is a movement within the Catholic church which involves wild parties, good food and craft beer. Actually, it also involves retreats, learning, prayer, sacrifice, service and stuff like that, but really, it's all about the parties at our place. My wife would disagree, but this is my blog and that's the way I see it. ;-)
In all seriousness, our Cursillo community provides the love and support that Rod chronicles. We're there for each other when we're sick or in trouble. We celebrate each others' triumphs and work together in prison ministries, support for the homeless, visits to those in hospice and more. It's a huge, loose, extended family, just like the folks in St. Francisville, Louisiana.
We're kind of a small town scattered across a big city.