Katherine Dalton learned everything she knows about civility from living in a small town:

Don’t honk unless it’s friendly.  And for goodness’ sake don’t honk at the Ford stopped interminably at the town’s lone traffic light.  It’s bound to be Miss Carrie, age 82, deciding whether or not she needs to go the bank (right), or straight on home to start dinner (left).  What’s your hurry anyway?  Honk and make her jump and you’ll feel guilty for a month.  Also the older men seated on the courthouse bench will catch you at it.

Watch the witticisms, because everybody’s related.  Chances are the ex-magistrate so deserving of a good lambaste is your eager listener’s third cousin.  If you’re talking to one of your favorite ladies from church, you can be sure there’s a relation. Speaking of tactlessness, if you put your foot in it at the deacons’ meeting (where all deliberations are confidential), be ready to spend the next two years living it down ...

If there are cars at the funeral home, and there’s no message on your answering machine, call and find out who it is.  Odds are three to two it’s somebody you know, or his uncle.  And keep your suit pressed, because you will be at the funeral home a lotso much so that your city friends won’t begin to understand it.  But no man is an island in a little place.

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