I feel very blessed to have grown up in a small southern town back in the days when ...
... 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)
The word lagniappe, as defined by Webster's, means "something given or obtained gratuitously, or by way of good measure."
"Time never turns backwards
Its old charms to give,
In photographs only
Can yesterdays live."
~ Edgar A. Guest
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