Why I enjoy living in a small town

Published 10:49 am Friday, December 18, 2015

When I began this column sometime in the past, I was asked what it would involve. “Mindless meanderings,” was my response.

This week’s column takes on that subject, recalling some observations from the first part of the week and the middle of the week. Both made me glad I live in a small town.

I was fortunate enough early in the week to have a couple of days off thanks to being allowed to take my birthday (which occurred in November) off and because I pulled weekend duty the week before. I used that time to get out and about and do a little driving around and a little Christmas shopping. When it comes to shopping for anything, it’s always been my philosophy to visit the local merchants first to find what I’m looking for before I make the trip to Jackson or get on that mecca of deals, Amazon.

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Having Tuesday off, I decided to venture downtown to walk around and to do a little shopping. Since I had not received subtle or not so subtle hints from the ladies in my life, I was able to get out and explore the interesting and unusual in the local shops, and I found interesting. I had it wrapped, and it now sits under our tree.

What I also found interesting and very enjoyable was the traffic along the shops on Washington Street. People were out enjoying a nice day, and the shops were full of customers doing what I was doing — looking for gifts. I can remember when I came here four years ago. Downtown looked like a ghost town; stores were empty with “for sale” and “for rent” signs in the windows. The area looked bleak. Parking was available anywhere. Now, it’s hard to find a spot, and that’s a good thing.

The storeowners and employees were all polite and helpful and ready to assist. That’s something that’s missing in many big box stores.

Wednesday I had an even better reason to be glad I’m in a small town.

I covered a dinner for law enforcement, firefighters and the city’s and county’s employees coordinated by Greg Harrison, a retired fire department captain, who on his own, with the help of restaurateur L.D. Prentiss and local contributions put on this meal to feed about 150 people Wednesday night.

Unfortunately, the press of work didn’t allow me to take up his generous invitation to eat, but I was impressed at the effort done to bring people who rarely receive acknowledgement for their work together for food and fellowship. As Mr. Harrison said, it was his way to give something back.

Throughout the years I’ve been a reporter, people have asked me why I never worked for a paper in a large city. I tell them I enjoy working in small town where people are friendly and I know I can pick up the phone and call an official and get that person.

My experiences this week just reinforced that statement. I’m glad to live in an area where people treat you like a long lost friend and others take the time to show their appreciation to others.


About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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