Lazy Sunday XXVI: Small Town Life

I’ve been awash in local boosterism lately.  As a Jeffersonian at heart (especially now that I’m a freehold yeoman farmer, what with my single fig tree, twenty yards of grapevines, and drooping pecan trees), small town, rural living appeals to me at a deep level.  I am, like most Americans, infected with the bug of urgent nationalism, as it seems that every major problem is a national issue (due, in no small part, to two centuries of centralization and the breakdown of federalism), but I increasingly seek to think and act locally.  That’s where the most immediate and substantial changes to our lives occur.

The slow summer news cycle has seen me engaging in a bit more navel-gazing this summer, and thinking more about the things that matter in life:  our towns and communities; good books and music; friends and family.  Cultural issues are, potentially, political; as the late Andrew Breitbart often said, politics is downstream from culture.  Books, music, and movies matter, and the local level is the best place to see culture in action.

All of that armchair philosophizing aside, this week’s Lazy Sunday looks back at some posts about small town life, both in Lamar and Aiken.  Enjoy!

  • Hump Day Hoax” – This post is one of this blog’s most popular, in part because I shared the link to it in the comments section on a major right-wing news website.  It’s a somewhat unfortunate example of small town politicking gone wrong.  The mayor of my little adopted hometown, Lamar, is a very sweet lady, and she seems genuinely interested in improving our town, but she scuttled those endearing efforts when she ran straight to Newsweek claiming that her vehicle had been vandalized as part of a hate crime.  It turns out the mysterious, sticky yellow substance on her car… was pollen.Initially, I thought she was opportunistically trying to gain some grace on the cheap, as the Jussie Smollett hoax was then-current in the news.  After talking it over with some folks, I’m thinking now it’s more of an example of a deep paranoia among some black Americans who are, essentially, brainwashed from birth into believing they are the constant targets of hate crimes from vindictive whites.  Coupled with—sadly—a certain degree of stupidity—how can you have lived in the South for decades and not know what pollen looks like?!—it makes for an embarrassing mix.
  • Egg Scramble Scrambled” – Every April, Lamar hosts a big festival, the Egg Scramble, that attracts around 6000 people to town.  Keep in mind, Lamar’s population sits just south of 1000, so that many people at once creates a huge influx of cash into the local economy.  It’s a big deal.  I was out of town for the Scramble this year, but I was looking up news about it when I discovered it had been ended early due to a fight.It was only later that I learned there was gang activity (my initial thought in the post was that some hooligans just got out of hand, and the police shut the down the event to avoid any future roughhousing), with shots fired.  It doesn’t appear anyone was hurt, but, boy, did this story get buried fast.  It was only from talking to neighbors that I got a more complete picture.

    I am, perhaps, not acquitting my adopted home town well.  It really is a lovely—and very cheap—place to live.  I suppose I’ll have to write a more favorable account of Lamar life soon to make up for these two negative portrayals.

  • 250th Day Update” – This post is a bit of a stretch for this week’s theme, but it includes a hodge-podge of updates that, in one way or another, connect to small town life:  high school football games, local festivals, relaxing holidays, and the like.  Those little things are what make life colorful, and enjoyable—and they’re the things that truly matter.  Read the update for more.
  • Aiken Amblings” – A late-night SubscribeStar Saturday post, this subscriber-exclusive post details my visit to Aiken’s Makin’, Aiken’s long-running crafts festival.  It’s probably the best example of local boosterism I’ve ever experienced personally, and I am surely a booster for it.  It also didn’t devolve into gangland violence, so that’s a plus.  For just $1, you can read the full account—and all of the other great pieces on my SubscribeStar page!

That’s it for this Lazy Sunday.  I’m hoping to check out Yemassee‘s Shrimp Festival later this month (September 19-21), schedule-permitting.  As the days shorten and the weather slowly cools, it’s time to get out to some local festivals in some small, rural towns.


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:


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