I wasn't raised in Peru, Indiana. In fact, when my family first moved here in the 1990s, I thought we were in another state--even though I had lived in Indiana all my life.
Over time, I graduated high school, went to college, had jobs throughout all that time, had a big-girl job after college, got married, and had kids. I've owned a business, and now have transitioned to a new career in my 40s.
I'm still in Peru.
I thought as a young adult that Peru was a stop in the road of life on the way to a big, fancy city where, of course, I would go, because who would stay in little old Peru?
I can't say where I'll be for the rest of my life, but for now, as my perspective in life changes, I truly appreciate those aspects of a small town that "big-city-ers" mock.
This is a town where we see people we know every time we step out our doors.
This is a town that rallies around the downtrodden.
This is a town that offers 4-H, circus, dance, and sports for our children.
This is a town where I still feel safe raising my children.
This is a town that is returning to life in the downtown area and beyond.
This is a town that showed how proud they were of their homes and hometown as I saw everybody cleaning up their lawns in anticipation of the Circus City parade and all the people who would visit our town because of that event. If you drove through on Parade Day last Saturday, you would have been hard-pressed to find a scraggly yard or any trash on the streets.
One absolutely memorable part of our town is...
Everybody knows and loves Conny from Conny's Little German Breadshop on West Main Street. The heavenly scents wafting from her shop are all that is needed to pull your feet through her door before you even realize what you're doing.
My children love her pretzel rolls. Let's be honest: I love them, too. I know man shall not live by bread alone, but those come pretty close.
If you go by her cheery yellow door, you'll be greeted by a gnome and a friendly hello from her. The gnome is silent, but you may pick up some German words from her while you're there for kuchen bars.
So, while you're out and about enjoying the boutiques, locally-roasted coffee, fresh donuts, and unique restaurants our town has to offer, hop down the street to Conny's.
Life tastes better with a little German flavoring.