This afternoon I attended a concert at a church. I saw a young man whom I recognized. He works at the library near my house, and I've seen him taking walks nearby. At today's concert he was with an older woman (who must have been his mother) and a couple of other people. It appeared to me that he was with family members.
Why is this significant to me? I've always been a loner, yet I remember what it was like growing up near extended family. And my parents had lived in that town their entire lives, so they knew a lot of people.
When I moved to the city I now live in, I didn't know anyone here. I have no relatives within a 600 mile radius. I've never been married, but I have a child. To be a single parent with no relatives in the picture is rough. I have never known the experience of having anyone watch my child whom I did not have to pay to do so.
When I go back to my hometown to visit, which is rare these days, I am struck by the apparent fact that people know each other. My best friend from my hometown runs into people she knows wherever we go. (She has lived there her entire life.)
Such solid, reliable familiarity must be nice. I should like to experience it sometime.