Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where the Dogwoods Bloom

There is a place in Kentucky where azaleas and dogwood trees line the streets. There is a place in Kentucky that is just small enough to feel homey, while still being large enough to feel on-the-map. A town where the Ohio River flows deep and wide. A town steeped in tradition, with a eye toward the future. A town that has room enough for old fashioned dairy barns and sleek, modern Starbucks. A town where people still sit on their front porches and sip sweet tea and wave at their neighbors as they walk by. Where kids still chase lightning bugs after dark. A town where people say “yes ma’am” and “no, sir” and refer to one another as “honey” and “darlin’”. A town where you can’t make a quick Target run without encountering half a dozen people you know. There is a town in Kentucky where barbecue and Bluegrass reign supreme. Where Friday nights are spent watching bitter high school rivalries played out on the football field. Where Saturday nights are for poker. And Sundays are all about church, mom’s fried chicken, and family. A town with low crime rates and high graduation rates. A low cost of living and a high quality of life. There is a town in Kentucky where winters are mild and summers are sweltering. A town where the air is clean and the sky is blue. A town where kids can play outside without being afraid of anything scarier than mosquitoes bothering them. A town with character and atmosphere and charm to spare.

This is the town I grew up in. Owensboro, Kentucky. Population: 55,525. Owensboro straddles the Mason-Dixon line. One merely has to cross a bridge into Indiana to leave the South behind. Though practically Midwestern in locale, people in Owensboro are, without a doubt, Southerners at heart. They speak Southern. They eat Southern. They think Southern. Their pace of life is absolutely Southern. Growing up, I wanted nothing more than to leave this place behind and see the world. The more I saw of the world, however, the more I discovered what an extraordinarily remarkable place my hometown really is.

Why then, if this Utopian town exists in Kentucky, am I living in Minneapolis, Minnesota?

Read the rest here.


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