I gave testimony a few weeks ago at our local Celebrate Recovery. It was about my recent cancer diagnosis and journey. I’m not quite ready to write that whole story down into words. I’ll get there. Just not today. But in my testimony I said “Living in a small town is either a blessing or a curse. It has its downfalls and perks. I’ll take the perks any day every day”……………………….
Recently, I’ve started doing a lot more Instagram vs Facebook. Not sure why I haven’t done this years ago. It’s so refreshing. Lovely pictures and little hearts and likes and very few comments. And you know what else? NO arguments. No ugly comments or drama. And you can choose what you see! So, if you know me at all you know mine is full of pottery, biscuits and southern cooking. And bears. Lots and lots of black bears. White Lily flour recipes and lovely pictures from Ruby Sunshine, my favorite breakfast spot. Instagram is LIFE, y’all. Folks are kind there. It’s a social media vacation. For the senses.
Whenever I have an issue at work, my boss says “Well, call them” or “Just fix it” and I tell him you know, I love that world you live in. Can I go there? But all jokes aside, most of the time it is as easy as taking a moment and pausing and figuring out the easiest way to get what needs to be done, well, done. Its taken me a long time to get here, but now that I am, it feels good. Dang good. I don’t remember my Momma ever getting flustered when the woes of daily life got her down. No. All I saw her doing is pressing on. It took me 48 long years to get here, but here I sit. Pressing on. Trying to leave people better than I found them. Maybe it was cancer, or Covid or the Good Lord who sat me down. Maybe it was all of the above. But it sure feels good.
Living in a small, southern town can feel like a fishbowl sometimes. I see my big city friends who got the heck out of here talking about it all the time. “You wouldn’t catch me living there for nothing”! Talking about these small town, small minded, busy body folks who know everyone’s business. A few months ago all I can say when everyone knew my business is Praise God. These small town folks pulled me out of a pit so dark and desperate I’m not sure I would have survived without their prayers. I felt every single one. I was in that fishbowl swimming away. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”………..
You know what else that can be a blessing or a curse? Social media. Facebook. As Granny O liked to call it, THE DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND. “Facebook, my end”, she would say. “You look like getting on facebook”……Gah, I miss her.
Lately all it has been has been one complaint after another. Didn’t like your food, wait time, lack of service at the local restaurant? Take it to the facebook. Didn’t know but half the story about something someone posted on our local hometown page and sure didn’t wait to get as Paul Harvey said, the rest of the story”? Well, 152 comments later it all works out for the good. And you know why? Because folks who really cared truly did what needed to be done. Not for the sake of being a keyboard warrior or being right or wrong. Simply because that’s what real small town folks do. Take care of one another. And our little town.
I was listening to Rick Bragg last night and in his book he said his Momma told him, “You know, somehow you never forget a person being good to you.”. Now that’ll preach right there. All day everyday, and twice on Sunday. But you know what? The same goes for someone not being good to you. I’ve “not been good” to a few folks in my life. Had a few who replied in kind. How does it go? Two wrongs definitely don’t make a right. Did I mention it took me 48 years to get here? Long ones. I ain’t leaving, though. The pillow feels good and my Chip & Joanna lightweight comforter adds just the perfect amount of comfort. It makes for great pics of my fur babies in the portrait mode setting too. The man sleeping beside me is far from perfect, but perfect for me.
I’ve got a son who went out and explored a little in college. From South Alabama to Illiniois, he went and did and honestly I never thought he would settle back in our little corner of Northeast Alabama. He just wasn’t “cut out” for small town living. Yet, here he is, settled back in and might I add killing it? With kindness and grace and well, maybe, just maybe I did something right on my way to where I am. “You’ve done good, Momma”……words I love to hear. And I hear often. My small town boy with his big smile and personality. He gets it from his Momma, you know. And a little from his Daddy. Have to give him a little credit, too.
I was listening to John Prine today at work. It was a religious experience, as always.
“When I get to heaven
I’m gonna shake God’s hand
Thank Him for more blessings than one man can stand
Then I’m gonna get a guitar
And start a rock-n-roll band
Check into a swell hotel
Ain’t the afterlife grand?
Folks, be kind. Be gracious. Leave a big tip, even when the service might not have been the best. Put your money where your mouth is when it comes to the problems of this ole world, but especially to the ones in your little hometown. Help a friend in need. Love your family even when you don’t want to. Go the extra mile. Look at the big picture.
You hear me, right? Maybe it was music for your ears and maybe it wasn’t. I’m good with that. 48 years to get here, and a lifetime to go.