Picture of artfully arranged junk on a barn wall

Imagine a world without the Internet. No Facebook or Twitter. No mobile phones for texting. You’ve got some leftover 2x4s from a home improvement project that you’re willing to give to anyone in need. ¬†Maybe your dog gifted you with some unexpected puppies that need a good home. How do you easily get the word out?

You call your local AM radio station during “Trading Post Hour” of course.

Population 6,000

I hadn’t heard a trading post show for about 25 years, but as I was eating breakfast in a Childress, Texas motel, the staff switched it on as they cleaned the breakfast buffet. I was transported to another time. I won’t wax on about “simpler times” and get nostalgic, but the experience did make me think about the everyday intimacy that’s been destroyed by our fancy electronic devices.

You can click the map below to see Childress, but it’s tiny — population 6,000. I heard all manner of trading post shout outs, from requests for sheet metal to a church yard sale announcement. It was the right way to start my day.

And to think I almost missed trading post radio; I was tempted to put down my tent at a rest stop before I got to Childress, but the big sign saying “Watch out for rattlesnakes” convinced me otherwise.

Real-life community building

Where we live, our trash and recycling goes into big rolling bins and we wheel them out to the curb for trucks to pick up. A friend of mine will occasionally get home before her neighbors and wheel their bins back up beside their houses just to be “neighborly.” I need to think of similar things I can do to weave a stronger community fabric.

How about you? What can you do today to reach out to a neighbor? Not someone you went to high school with living five states away whom you connect with on Facebook — a neighbor. Let me know if you take action on your inspiration!