Samuel L. Lytle

I recently heard a stat that kids, on average, eat at McDonalds three times per month.

That number surely doesn’t represent my childhood. Three Happy Meals a year was high livin’ for our clan. It wasn’t (just) because of the cost of feeding a suburban full of children or the health (or lack thereof) of greasy French fries. Mostly, we didn’t eat fast food because of proximity restraints. In fact, central Nevada has been identified as one of the four most ‘McSparse’ regions in America!

These days, rare is the week that doesn’t include at least one made-to-order meal. Actually, for the past decade or so I have lived in large enough cities that I have had doctors, banks, malls, stadiums, restaurants and airports within a few minutes drive.

I’ll admit it, I’ve become a little ‘citified’. Not completely, but now and then I realize that I am living a life I never grew up with and that my personality has changed somewhat because of it.

The difference in these lifestyles doesn’t just involve proximity to goods and services. In populous areas you talk less to other people, actually lock your house and vehicles and can get your yearly dentist appointment knocked out in a lunch hour instead of an entire day.

But even though I have let it get to me some, I also make a concerted effort to resist these changes. I will deliberately do nonsensical things like randomly put the truck in 4-wheel drive, make a tin-foil dinner or go camping. My wife and I sometimes have the ‘could we move back if we had to’ conversation. Of course we could move back, people do it all of the time. But would it be pleasant or would we feel cut off and isolated from the world?

I know I would be okay because I want to move back. I look forward to the dirt roads and grocery shopping that takes two hours because you have to say hi to everyone.

But until then, I just have to keep reminding myself and the family where we came from.

“Dad, can we get some chicken nuggets tonight?”


“Why not?”

“Because you just did, three months ago.”


Samuel L. Lytle is an aspiring Civil Engineer and Freelance Writer. He currently lives in Reno with his wife Tiffany and his son Jason. He recently released his first book, Gold Stars, which is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as an eBook. You can learn more about his writing projects at