I live in a very small suburb of Philadelphia. It’s not rural by any means. I mean, we don’t cow tip on Friday nights…although I do have ready access to a cow, goats and evil hens through the kids' 4-H. No, this is your typical east coast bedroom community: a pharmacy and/or bank on every corner, dueling over-priced ice cream parlors, roaming teens with nothing better to do than practice their angst in the park, and the world’s worst library (I think their flag has 48 stars). A good part of our Main Street could be the set for a “Leave It to Beaver” sequel. And despite my bitching about being stuck in suburbia from time to time (translation: constantly), our family is actually a fixture at borough events. The benefit (curse?) of working for the local newspaper.
As much as I hope to be paroled and head west, I do have to admit that this little burg has its appeal. We have concerts in the parks every summer. We have a kick-ass holiday parade. Our high school, while ridiculously enormous, has a great rep, sports teams and marching band. Santa Claus actually drives down each and every street throwing candy from a fire engine on Christmas eve. And then there’s tonight.
The annual Christmas tree lighting in Lansdale. People pack the “downtown” (HA!) park to listen to carolers, eat free hot dogs, and mingle with locals they haven’t seen since the last summer concert. “Little Miss Lansdale” (a friend’s daughter this year) and Santa arrive on a towed sleigh, flip the switch lighting the tree, and shake hands with scores of eager rosy-cheeked townfolk. My boys get our traditional holiday photo with the mayor. Everyone then walks over to the library, which upon reflection may not be that horrible, to give their letters to Santa and watch the animated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
So we have a Starbucks. We have a Salvation Army. We have a SuperFresh. And we have a soul. Suburbia. Bloom where you’re planted. But have an exit strategy.
"Suburbia" by Pet Shop Boys. Only because Latch Key Kid didn't have a suburban anthem (Get to work on that, Gavin).