Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hey...I'm Small Town

     "Well I was born in a small town, and I live in a small town, prob'ly die in a small town, oh those small communities", lyrics from "Small Town" John Cougar Mellencamp.

    I am a small-town girl, some would say I was disadvantaged. I'm also a small-town southern girl, so does that make me totally inept? My theory is this: it is what kind of small town you were raised in and mine just happens to be just the right fit for me.

    I fit in a small town. Don't think that I haven't wanted to run from my small-town roots and transplant myself in a bigger, bustling, metro environment, where things just happen and you are not the one that has to make it happen, like you do in a small town. In my town, we are the doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs. We all know each others' names and usually each others' business but it strengthens our community fabric.

    I am also a small church congregant. Close-knit family, that's what I call it. I can depend on them for anything. You have to be self-motivated to be a part of a small anything. You and just a few others are usually the only ones that are involved, but those take-action people are the ones that helped shape the community that shaped me.

    Yeah, small towns are usually the last place to get the new and improved products that are on the market, the shopping selections are limited (Wally World decor or Fred's, let me see...) and you have to frequent the same shops over and over again, but that's doable because when I get the big city itch I can scratch it by visiting one for a few hours (less than an hour away) and get on with my iddy biddy life. I'm livin' small, ya'll, livin' small.

    I have at times felt like a 'big fish in a small pond'. I have all of these creative ideas and gifts and talents that would work awesomely in a large city. Decorating people's homes for the show hostess...healthy fast food eatery...none of which there is a market for in 'Smallville'. Just a few miles up the road, however, people have a need for these things, here, they may have a need for it but ain't gonna pay you for it. Can a big visionary come from a small town? I think so, my small town helped make me a visionary, helped me to see needs and fill them, become what was useful for my town, and share myself with my community. I bloomed where I was planted.

     Podunk, we are not. Podunk means to 'sink in the mire'. That's what I meant by, it depends on what kind of small town you're from. My town has purposely built itself up, up, up instead of sink, sink, sink.

     I remember as a kid, Jim Nabors was on the Carol Burnett show and they did a huge, elaborate musical production number honoring his home town, Sylacauga. I couldn't wait to see it. I was so disappointed, not with the singing, dancing, and costuming, but the pictures that they showed of Sylacauga. They showed Podunk pictures. The pictures had to of been taken in the 1930's during the depression and this was the late 60's. Our town did not look like that at all! I was totally embarrassed. I kept waiting for shots of cousins getting married and sleeping with the dogs and liquor jugs on the front porch! I remember once, a man that owns a large business here that had some dignitaries flown into the local airport and they were shocked to find that we had an airport and paved streets. We may be small in size and numbers but we don't have a small mentality.

    My town's name means "Buzzards Roost", how do you make that into something positive? First, I believe that there are what I call 'hobokums' everywhere in towns and cities large, small, and in between. They are the ones that just float, not swim. They don't contribute, they make withdrawals. They exist and wait, instead of move and shake. They are 'buzzards'. I propose we change the the mascot bird to an eagle and call Sylacauga, "The Gathering Place...Where Greatness Gathers". You become what you call yourself.

    Our town has a slogan that states our belief, it is ...'What a Name, What a Town'. We are a composite of  people that desire to place our mark of valuable qualities and excellence where we have chosen to "roost". The results? Some may leave for the big city and some stay here, but our smallness experiences have shaped us and made us into who we are..."oh those small communities".

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