I really, honestly, love this town
By By Lindsey Sherrill
I love this town. I mean it. I really do. I know that most people my age, most of my friends, hate living here. They talk about the boredom and how there is nothing to do and nowhere to go. I have friends from larger cities who even tell me how sorry they feel for me because I live in such a sleepy little down. But I think they're wrong. I don't think they realize just how lucky I am.
I think about this every time I drive down Main Street. The old empty store fronts are beginning to come to life again as new businesses move in and old ones find new faces. Right now all of the businesses have beautiful Christmas decorations up. Some are quaint, others are flashy, but all exude life and joy and the hope, not only of the season, but also for the little town these businesses call home. At night the street is aglow with white lights. Our city has been transformed not only into a home for us but also an enchanting memory for passers-through. How, I've thought as I sat at the red light at the corner of Main and Hwy. 31, could anyone not love to be here now?
I don't think those of my friends who complain about Atmore realize what a blessing it is to grow up in a small Southern town. They say there is nothing to do but sit in the parking lot, but where else could they feel as safe doing so? In many cities such a position could be a perfect opportunity for drive-by shootings or gangwars. My friends complain that there is no one new to meet, that everyone already knows them. But have they ever stopped to think what it would be like to live somewhere where they are strangers? Have they imagined driving to the store or the gas station and never seeing a familiar face?
Then I hear the complaints that everything is the same, that nothing has changed in years. Yes, perhaps that is true in some ways, but why is that a bad thing? Isn't that what home is about? Familiarity? I have been told before by visitors that Atmore reminds them of a scene from a black and white 1950s TV show. Is that bad, I ask? In a time when crime is rampant and unrest seems to be everywhere, is it not a blessing to live in a city which, though far from perfect, looks a little like paradise next to much of the world?
Yes, Atmore has its faults. Yes, I have felt the boredom and many times the frustration of being always observed by people I know. No, I probably won't spend my whole life here. But, yes, I'll come back. I'll always come back.
Lindsey Sherrill is a columnist for The Atmore Advance. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org