Small towns offer something special
We have been friends since we were five-year-old students at Jack and Jill Kindergarten. A Halloween visit from the good witch that year, moving to the elementary school, band camp, Friday night football games and weekend parties are all parts of our collective memories.
We added a few friends along the way, mostly transfers from neighboring communities. By high school, the bonds of our group were strong.
College sent us on different paths; families and careers further separated us. Most of us still kept in touch.
This past weekend, we were together again. John, who had not been home for many years and who recently stared down death, was with us again. We rallied to the cause, postponing or canceling obligations, traveling, doing whatever it took to support him.
As the weekend approached, we were as excited as school children. Karen described it as "like getting ready for the prom."
We found this past weekend that we have changed, but we are basically the same people we always were. More importantly, we still like each other.
Blue lives in the metro Atlanta area, is married to Aleah, his high school sweetheart, and is the father of two daughters.
Like most of his peers, Blue grew up fishing with his daddy in the Pea River, setting trot lines on the weekends, taking occasional camping and fishing trips to Black Creek. He has three nephews. It worries Blue's daddy that the boys live in a city and have never done these things.
Apparently, his nephews have.
All of this has me thinking about how grateful I am to have lived most of my life in a small town. Somehow, the bonds of friendship seem closer here. Given the choice, I'd take the freedoms and friendships that go along with childhood life in a place like Brewton or Elba over world travel by age 16.
Aren't we lucky?