Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Small Town Pride

If you know anything about me, one thing is for sure- I LOVE music! Country, pop, contemporary Christian, and a variety of other genres! But one of my personal favorites would have to be 90’s country! Alabama, Sara Evans, Dixie Chicks, The Judds, Martina McBride, George Straight, Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw, the list goes on and on and on. Call me crazy but there is something about country from the 90’s that makes me smile! It’s the kind of music that you drive around town to with your windows down on a sunny summer afternoon.

Most artists have songs that tell stories that their fans can connect to. Whether it is Carly Rae Jepsen singing “Call Me Maybe”, “Marry You” by Bruno Mars, Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance”, “Style” by Taylor Swift, “Mom” by Garth Brooks, “Get Back Up” by Toby Mac, or even Sara Evan’s “Born to Fly”: People relate to these songs. Music has a way of making you feel a certain way. It can determine your mood, channel your thoughts and even play an effect on your words and actions.

I love small towns. This year while traveling the state, I have driven through my share of small home towns but to me, nothing can compare to the small town that I am from. A song that makes me love life and everything about coming from the small town of Hope, Indiana, is “Down Home” by Alabama. This song makes me feel proud, cheerful and even blessed. It makes me think of my high school friends, track practices spent running down the sidewalks, the water tower, eating at the Mexican restaurant right beside our town square, Friday night basketball games, support from our community, and everybody knowing everybody. Hope may be small and it may be considered a “surprising little town” but I am so fortunate to have been raised in a community such as this.

“Down home
Where they know you by name and treat you like family
Down home
A mans good word and a hand shake are all you need
Folks know
If they're fallin' on hard times they can fall back on
Those of us raised up down home.”

Although these are lyrics to a song, they also speak a lot of truth. Coming from a town where everyone knows everyone, you would think that there would be a down fall to this, but I would like to think otherwise.

In Hope, Indiana when you walk into El Jefe (our Mexican restaurant), you better expect to at least see a friend or even a neighbor and if it’s a family member, they may secretly pay for your meal before you can object otherwise. When you are struggling in a specific class and need a little extra help, you better believe that your Pre-Calc or English teacher will take time out of their schedule after school to help you until they know that you understand (My teachers are the reason I survived high school! A huge THANK YOU is due to them for their caring hearts!).  If you have a flat tire, more than likely someone will pull over to help you out. It’s senior night for the basketball team, cheerleading squad and band? At least half of the town will show up to watch a good basketball game and also show their support. Have a last minute cupcake drive to raise funds for a family for Christmas- community members will go out of their way to make sure they can fit it in their schedule and help out their local FFA Chapter. A piece of farm equipment breaks down, its 8:00 p.m. and there is still at least two hours of work to finish up until this last field is complete (I say this, because let’s be honest, sometimes equipment breaks at the most inconvenient times), with a quick call to your neighbor, before you know it, with an extra pair of hands, some tools and a few prayers, you are back in the tractor finishing up that last field for the evening.

I say these things because things like this happen. All of the time. The community members from my town have a heart the size of Texas and I honestly could not imagine calling the small pin point of a town on a map my home town. I have found scenarios such as these, true for most small towns.

During FFA Week when I was in the Remington, Indiana area, a father of an FFA member noticed me behind him in the drive thru at McDonalds and without hesitation, he paid for my Diet Coke and fries and wished me a “Happy FFA Week!” Awesome things like this happen in small towns.

It may be the “Hoosier hospitality” but whatever it is, I am glad to call it a part of my life. Again, Alabama says it best,

“Down home
Where they know you by name and treat you like family
Down Home
A mans good word and a handshake are all you need
Folks know
If they're fallin' on hard times they can fall back on
Those of us raised up
Down home.”

Serving with a grateful heart,

Brittany Young
Indiana FFA
State President

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