Saturday, August 19, 2017

And They Will All Come Home

A couple of weeks ago,  I may have stated in print what others are never really comfortable saying out loud, regarding my opinions on this community’s non-participation in new businesses here in Gadsden County.

And I loosely use the word opinion, because if I were to take the time to name all the businesses that have come and gone in just my 20 years here; well that would not only take quite some time, but it would also certainly prove my point.

But this week I want to tilt the table a bit and give my thoughts on what keeps people here in Gadsden County.

There is a reason that people stay here. There is a reason that children who grow-up here, move away and swear that they are never coming back – do indeed come back here. Back to that same place that they felt like smothered them, held them back, and kept them from seeing all the things they thought they needed to see.

Before I moved to Gadsden County I lived in Lee County Georgia, a small unassuming county back then, right outside of Albany Georgia where I grew-up. Little did I know – practically two minutes after I would gather my children and move to Quincy, Lee County would explode and become a metropolis. Which in my mind, took away all the beauty of why my children and I lived there in the first place.

In 1998 I transferred with my job to Quincy and I will tell you now, the house-hunting phase was one of which I hope to never experience again. I had worked here in Quincy for about 4 years prior, driving back and forth from Albany to Quincy twice a week. So, I already knew that Quincy was a very small town and I especially knew what a culture shock it would be for my children.

But in my search for a home to raise my children, nothing about Tallahassee pulled me in and made me feel like home. However, with all its inadequacies and absences of convenience; Quincy pulled me in so tight, I just knew this is where I needed to plant our family seed.

The many lakes, ponds, and land to fish, hunt and explore here in Gadsden County provide an experience for children that is like no other. The close-knit community, with its special brand of manners and the way they address adults, young and old, with a Miss, Mrs. or Mr. in front of their first name, pulls everyone together on the same common ground of love, decency and knowledge that family comes first, and neighbors such a close second that they feel the same.

My children not only grew-up and thrived here, they found love here and they found that special magic that only small towns can provide; and folks, that magic is what holds this county together.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Time Flies When Your Flyin.....

For years when I was growing-up I would hear older folks talk about it getting away from them. About it being here one day and gone the next. About it slipping through their fingers and sometimes, sadly, even sleeping from their minds.

I can remember thinking to myself – what world do these people live in? They couldn’t possibly be existing in mine, because it seems I counted every hour of every day at times, to no avail, waiting for it to pass, to move on, or to magically change my life as if it really held that kind of power.

And now, I see it all, good land do I see it all. I’m here one day and then all of a sudden, it’s three months later and I am left trying to unboggle my mind as to where it all went and what happened to it.

Time just marches on, doesn’t it? And the higher on the ladder of age that you climb, the more frighteningly out of control, the speed at which it moves, seems to get. Just this morning I told my husband that I couldn’t believe it was already August! In less than 3 ½ months from now, I’ll be putting up Christmas decorations! As a matter of fact, last week while I was having the bushes in my yard professionally trimmed, my main process of thinking while trying to schedule the next appointment, was to make sure the last trim would occur in early November so I wouldn’t be hanging lights on out-of-control untrimmed bushes!

I haven’t personally been to Hobby Lobby yet, but I know the fall and Halloween decorations are already on display, as I am seeing people posting their recently purchased goodies on Face Book. How in the world is that happening when people in my neighborhood are STILL popping off fireworks!

But to get back to my original point about the differences in time; about a week or so ago my youngest son and a group of his friends flew to Argentina for a week of dove hunting. He got back a week or so ago and came by the house last night to tell us all about his trip.

To him, I’m sure that trip and his time there flew by like a speeding bullet; but for me, that was the longest 9 days I’ve experienced in a long, long time.

His flight was delayed on the trip to Argentina, so of course that seemed like an absolute lifetime to me. The days in between his arrival and departure, he was on land and enjoying himself as was obvious from the photo’s being taken, so I was pretty calm. Then the drama of his flight home, started the vicious cycle of time never moving again, waiting on him to be home, safe and sound once again.

I guess it all depends which side of the clock you’re standing, when you’re trying to account for the speed in which those two hands move; and of course, your place on the ladder of time.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Small Town Survival

I moved to Quincy in 1998 and people still left their doors unlocked. People still left their vehicles unlocked, and crazily enough, many of those vehicles still had the keys in the ignition.

With the exception of the two major chain drugstores, we don’t have any more new businesses here now than we did in 1998. Matter of fact, several major corporations/buildings, that housed hundreds of people/employees – are also gone.

Now I grant you that the economy and recessions of past had a lot to do with some of these events happening; but these are new day’s, yet we are still living in the past.

We manage to maintain the same handful of eateries, but the newer ones, well, they come and they go. Sandwich shops that everyone raves over for a few months and down-home-buffet diner’s that seem to keep their tables full – until they don’t anymore.

Every now and again we hear some wild rumor that something fantastic and different is Coming Soon! But it never does. We have four places to eat fried chicken here, four plus places to get a  hamburger and fries, at least three barbecue spots, and a couple of places that serve “fish”, and I use that word loosely.

And now, as the news spread city-wide as soon as the sign posted into the ground, we are about to get yet another place that serves chicken in most any form that you’d like.

I have heard for years that this town doesn’t grow because we, or the powers that be, don’t allow it to grow. They don’t want a raised crime rate, they prefer to keep this town small, localized and safe.

The thing is folks, we’re still plenty small alright, but are we really so safe anymore? Every six months or so we have what they call on the local news, a rash of burglaries, in what used to be some of the safest neighborhoods in Quincy.

Vehicles are being broken into, stripped and robbed. More and more people are acquiring home security systems, and I don’t know anyone who keeps any door to their homes unlocked anymore.

I guess all of this pondering I’m doing now is about this: why are we not getting bigger, better and stronger? Why do small businesses not survive here? Why do small businesses open with such high publicity and panache, only to fold like an accordion months later when the community does not continue to support it with their patronage?  

Maybe we’re just meant to be what we are – a small town seemingly frozen in time. A town that has succumbed to the failure of large businesses which once helped it to thrive and a community that doesn’t know how to pull together to help it survive.

To be clear, I love this little town, and I love living here. But I want it to grow and I want it to survive and succeed for our children and grandchildren. So the challenge is: what can we ALL do together, to ensure that it happens?