Friday, July 25, 2008

Life in "Small Town, America"

I feel very blessed to have grown up in a small southern town back in the days when ...

... children could walk to neighborhood schools without their parents having to worry about them.

... families sat down to dinner together and
shared their day with each other.

... teenagers, at least the ones I knew, had curfews and rules and didn't even think about questioning them.

... movies left something to the imagination, and our heroes were Roy Rogers and Doris Day (I'm probably dating myself!).

... music was something you listened to
for relaxation, or danced to ...
and didn't have lyrics that instilled violence and hatred.

I don't think that today's "Small Towns, America" will ever be able to achieve the "innocence" and freedom of the ones of my childhood, but it does your heart good to drive the backroads of this beautiful country of ours and see these little towns --and the people who live in them, raising their families in an atmosphere of values and morals reminiscent of the "Small Towns, America" of long ago.

It's a shame that so many of these towns have almost disappeared, just because they were not conveniently located near an interstate highway ... or were in the way of men and their machines razing buildings and cutting down trees, all in the name of progress.

It saddens me to see new "super" discount stores or shopping malls replacing the corner drugstores and family-owned businesses in small towns. Drive through any small town and you will see vacant buildings in various stages of disrepair, with the names of former businesses faded or worn away by time. I can't help but wonder what happened to the people who made a living from those businesses.

On a more positive note, many small towns have revived their old downtown and historic areas, offering upscale restaurants, antique and gift shops, and art galleries. Some have spring and fall festivals and holiday celebrations which bring thousands of visitors to town.

In closing, I'd like to suggest that the next time you are traveling on an interstate highway, consider getting off at the nearest exit and traveling a few miles on the "backroads." I think you will be amazed at how much you've missed!

And, if you just happen to be traveling in Mississippi ... you might enjoy visiting some of our small towns. I know you'll be impressed by their charm and the gracious hospitality you'll receive.

Here are a few of my favorite places in Mississippi:

Greenwood (Home of Viking Range Corporation)
Yazoo City (Home of Willie Morris)
Oxford (Home of William Faulkner), and
Holly Springs (Home of Fox News Anchor Shep Smith)



Scooterblu's Whimsy said...

Janie, Great post! My husband and I like to take what he calls the "scenic route" when traveling! little towns! We live in one and have several surrounding us! Such charm in them! :) ~Rhonda

Elzie said...

I totaly agree with you. I don't know where the world has come too. It's violence everywhere and you are afraid to go out in the evenings. Even in our small town in Sweden.

And many places are dissapearing. That's so sad. I have never been in America but I think I would have loved those small towns you have/had in the south. After seeing movies like Gone with the wind etc at least I felt for going there to see them.

I hope you have a good weekend.
Love Elzie

Cottage Rose said...

Amen; I agree with every thing you said. It is a shame what is happening to our small towns. Here where I live a lot of the small towns and drying up, what a shame. I remember walking every where when I was younger and never worried about anything. Hope your weekend is a good one.


PAT said...

Janie, you already know how much J and I love to veer from the "beaten path". I've been to a few of those places listed at the bottom of your post, and hope to see them again!

While we were driving back from Jeff City, the other day, we cut through the country. We went through more than one small town, that appeared to be no more than a ghost town. Sad...because we too grew up in small town America and feel blessed we had that priviledge.

Have a wonderful weekend!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I grew up in a small town that's no longer small. But when I was a child I could walk to school and the library and church and no one had to worry about me. I could ride my bike for blocks and blocks and adults driving cars watched out for kids on bikes. I could play outside till way past dark and the only thing my mom worried about was how dirty I would be when I finally came home. And my favorite game to play was with my sister, raking leaves into lines to make "rooms" for our "houses." I was married to Roy Rogers and she was married to Gene Autrey and we took care of our babies and cooked supper and drank coffee all from our imagination. It's too bad that those times are gone. Blessings, marlene

Nancy said...

Janie, This is a Great Post and soooo true! It is a SHAME what's happening to small towns. We have several of them around East Tn and sometimes we make time to go. Some of them have the best little places to eat and shop. Well, hope you have a great evening. Nancy

Anonymous said...

Morning Janie! I'm trying to catch up on my reading and totally agree with everything you said! I can't believe in the 7 yrs I've been here the changes that have taken place and not all for the better either!! I love to take a road I've never been on and explore where it leads. I've found some beautiful old fashioned towns/main streets that I intend to go back and visit when time allows. I adore towns with old fashioned shops to explore (but I need to do this by myself so I'm not feeling rushed!). Have a great Monday - Jeannette