Coming from the 'mad mid-west' I stumble humble when I try to explain this -
The further away I get from population centers the friendlier the folks get.
My fishing journey had taken me far, yet I had other ambitions. Like John Steinbeck (Travels With Charley) or Charles Kuralt (On the Road) I wanted to just watch people - just sit back, observe and listen. Modern myth still held that people in different regions had notably different customs, thoughts, traditions, manner of dress and manner of speech. For better or worse I found that not to be true. As I suspected, the homogenization of America which began decades ago with a McDonalds, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks and Walmart in just about every town with 5,000 or more souls has simply bleached all local color to the blandness of a grey plastic Walmart shopping bag. Add to that the copy-me, copy-you grey matter acid wash of television, radio and other media and you have a single-minded culture speaking a single, no-color language, dressing pretty much the same no matter where you go.
There were exceptions, however.
"Kaycee's unofficial motto is "2 bars, 4 churches, 1 hooker and a nice cemetery".
Take Folks in Kaycee, Wyoming for example. Kaycee's most recent population count puts it at around 269 residents. Add to that about 40 or so perpetual transients - campers, drifters, bikers, cowboys, ranchers, truckers, oil-workers and crop duster pilots and you still don't have what you or I would call a town. Kaycee's unofficial motto is "2 bars, 4 churches, 1 hooker and a nice cemetery". For modern conveniences they lack plenty. Some still burn wood and coal for heat in what can be unbelievably cold winters (Kaycee's record low is 45 degrees below zero in 1949). And the local river has a nasty habit of flooding now and then and takes a few houses away with it. But these folks have something special - they have community. Sure, everybody knows everyone's first name, last name, nick name, kids names, dogs names, frogs name, birthdays, everyone's great grandfather, grandfather, father or son and which wars they fought in, wedding day, divorce day, medical history, what beer they drink, what booze they drink, what they smoke and what they chew. Those last few items may even apply to some of the kids.
Ask for something and you'll get it but most of the time you'll never have to ask. These are hard working 'get-r-done' folks with hearts as big as their smiles.
"There is a second silent language spoken through the eyes in a face-to-face conversation".
Another thing I noticed - Even though just about everybody has one, you won't see them staring at their cell phones while you're talking or asking a question like, "Where the hell am I?". Their sense of self-importance isn't blown off the planet like a lot of city folks because everyone in the community is important in one way or another. Born country or adopted to it they'd rather talk to your face and they know there is a second silent language spoken through the eyes in a conversation. It's an art obviously lost in a one-dimensional phone call.
One other thing, you better know who's who at the Friday night rodeos. - WES:::