I consider it a true blessing to live in a small town or in the country. My amount of big city living has been limited to only a few years in the distant past; my grade school and high school years were spent living in a small village of 300 people.
There was a general store at the intersection with groceries, a post office and single gas pump. A potbellied cast iron stove sat in the middle of the room to heat the space. Pop was 5 cents a bottle, and a 1-cent deposit was required for the return of the bottle.
The one-pump Gulf Oil dispenser required 15 cents per gallon, while a Klondike ice cream bar and a twin stick Popsicle were both 5 cents. The only other business left was an old blacksmith shop, which mainly did welding on farm equipment running on the country roads.
This country living started when I was 10 years old, when my parents purchased a former doctor’s home built in the later 1880s for $3,000. The purchase price included a large two-story barn with outhouse.
I worked with my father over the next eight years on the total remodeling of the home. Little did I know what effect that would have with my future career choice of construction. My free time was spent riding my bike to the many small villages that surrounded us. I still remember the farm fields, barns and pastures with all the activity of farm life.
In the early part of retirement, our decision to move to Hancock County was made because our daughter, her husband and our new granddaughter lived here. We lived in Morgan County at the time and had a lot of downsizing to do. After about 60 days of looking, we located a home about three miles north of Greenfield, which would fit our retirement needs with some major updating.
It didn’t take long for us to realize the benefits of living in Hancock County and Greenfield. We were impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of local store associates. In a short time, we established relationships with salespeople, servers, construction tradesmen and medical help.
After two surgeries at Hancock Regional Hospital, I am very impressed with the care and concern shown by doctors and nurses. I have also visited a number of patients over the past four years and everyone has been satisfied. We have also found that local doctors and their staffs are very friendly and talkative.
The library is a great facility with an accommodating “kid’s zone.” Restaurants of all types are plentiful, with more under construction each year. We have gotten to know servers at many local restaurants. People are easy to talk with and openly share their concerns when you show concern for them.
When one stops to think about it, we are very nearly a self-contained community in Greenfield. If one needs a special facility we are only a few minutes from Indy and Anderson. The possibility of construction of a new Fairfield Inn, a conference center and the Kohl’s store, show major companies the great possibilities in Greenfield and the county.
The city of Greenfield cares about the disadvantaged and the senior population. There’s the Hancock County Senior Services facility that provides transportation throughout the county, as well as a great Goodwill store.
From the Kenneth Butler Soup Kitchen to the more than 50 churches in Hancock County, there are a myriad of services and sights available in Hancock County.
My wife and I attend church in Wilkinson Church of Christ and have many friends living throughout the county’s many small towns. We take as many new roads as we can to visit them as we both enjoy the old farm homes and the farm fields.
There are many beautiful well-kept buildings in the county, such as the two round barns in the northwest section of the county. The farms and each small town has its own appeal, with emotions and memories that will last a lifetime.
Dean McFarland is a board member for the Central Indiana Council on Aging.