Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hometown Love Part Three::D&D/Grandma's Attic and The Superhero 5k

I know it's been a few weeks.  But ya know, life happens.  And while it's happening I plan on living every moment.  Which means sometimes I don't have time to write.

But today I have a few things to share with you that I love about my small town or about being from a small town.  The first is a place.  When I was young it was called D&D Variety.  It was one of my favorite places to go.  It was the local "dime store".  The only place in town to buy things actually.  After school we would walk there and buy candy and other random things.  I always thought it was full of treasure.  On Homecoming it was especially busy as people went in to buy silly string and other things while waiting for the parade to start.  The store was separated into a few rooms.  I can remember one room seeming to have "nicer" or "fancier" things in it.  I didn't go in there much.  I was intrigued by the greeting card section.  I always thought the store smelled like dust and sugar.  I'm sure that's odd.  My friends and I had so much fun walking to this store after school.  As we got older and could drive we went there less, but it was still our go to if we needed something in town.
As more businesses opened in and around our town business died down and D&D.  It was sold and sat empty for awhile.  Now it has been turned into a resale/flea market kind of place.  It is called Grandma's Attic.  And it has again become one of my favorite places to go.  The 80 year old lady living inside of me thinks there is nothing better than antiques, glassware and old things.  I love going in and hearing from Maggie the happenings of the day.  She seems to know the story of everything in the store and the people who set up their booths.  Information about an item or negotiating a price is only a phone call away.  It doesn't really smell like sugar anymore, probably due to it's lack of selling candy.  :)  It is a neat place to stop by when you are going through town.  It is right on Main Street and is still full of treasurers waiting to be discovered and given new life.

So that was the first, next is an event.  Some of the things I am going to be writing about are community events.  I love that in Paris community events really are a great place for the community to come together.  I love that so many people try to support different causes and participate in things simply to support people in our community.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in one such event.  A local kiddo and his family (who happen to be my neighbors--not like small town we're all neighbors, but they actually live right by me) hosted a 5k.  Now, if you know me you know I love the challenge of a 5k.  It is a way that I am working on myself by doing as many as I can afford to do!  This particular 5k was to raise money for Camp Hickory Hill which is a camp for children with diabetes.  It is a place they can go to have a wonderful camp experience, but also have time to learn skills and practice managing their own health.  It was called the Superhero 5k.  I was not sure the morning of if I was going to make it.  I had just walked a 5k the night before with my family for my niece and nephew's school and I had never done back to back 5ks.  But I showed up.  I finished.  Last of course, but that it not nearly as important to me as the fact that I finished.  The reason I loved this so much is that along the route everyone encouraged other participants.  It was a route that looped so as we met people who were on their way back we were offered words of support and encouragement and high fives.  When we finally did finish there were still people waiting there at the finish line to cheer us on and clap when we finished.  I have done some events where everyone walks their own race with their headphones in and never looks up and when people are done they just hop in their car and leave and don't think twice about anyone else participating.  I love that in my small town it was not like that.  Everyone was supported and cheered for, from the first place to the last place.  And we helped a great cause in the process!
Before the start of the Superhero 5k with my bff and walking partner Charline.

After completing the Superhero 5k.  It was my 7th one so I am holding up 7 fingers.  Excuse the look of pain but I was actually in quite a bit of pain!

If you are still reading these and are interested to know here are some things I plan to write about in the coming weeks:  the courthouse, Relay for Life, the farmer's market, Jacs, 15 Diner, the churches, the schools, the fairgrounds and many others.  If you have suggestions let me know!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hometown Love Week Two::Jonesy's

It is hard to pick places to write about when expressing my great love for my hometown.  I have compiled a long list of places.  Today I will be writing about Jonesy's. 

Jonesy's is a diner smack dab in the middle of Main Street.  It is everything you would expect a small town diner to be.  (I often call these places hole in the wall local spots---but only out of pure love for them!)  When you open the door you can immediately smell fried food.  You know that if you order french fries your plate will be heaped so full there is no way you could eat them all!  The people who work there are efficient and friendly.  It is a typical small town diner.

An article telling about the history of Jonesy's.  It is a picture of the framed article so naturally it is not good.  Article originally published in the Monroe County Appeal.

One of the things I love about this place is the history contained in a tiny building.  They have an article posted on their wall that talks about the first opening in 1934.  The article says that when originally opened it was in conjunction with the old Opera House Theatre building.  This is something I didn't even know had ever existed in my town.  (So now naturally I have more research to do!)  I also learned that it used to be known among locals as the Co-Op  because it was originally opened by the Dairy Cooperative.  Thank you Mr. Clyde Jones for letting it be your namesake now because to me Co-Op is a place to buy feed!  It has changed hands only a handful of times since then and has retained the charm that makes it one of my favorite places.  The booths are narrow and wooden.  The soda counter is lined with spinning seats.  The walls are covered in memorabilia that tells a story of a thriving past for our tiny town.  If you happen to be there at a good time of day you can catch Connie and Steve (the owners) both there and they will tell you all kinds of things about the business. 


The original sign.  Look closely and check out those prices!

Pictures, signs and local memorabilia adorning the walls.

The food is typical diner food.  Burgers and fries.  But I love to walk down there and order cheese balls and a milk shake...just like I did when I was in Jr. High and we could easily walk there from our school building in the afternoons.  If you sit in Jonesy's long enough you will see all sorts of people and hear all sorts of stories.  This place has been a favorite of many people for a long time and will continue to be.  My friends and I have recently begun experiencing the joy of introducing younger generations to the history and nostalgia of afternoons at Jonesy's.  They may never get to simply walk down the street from their school and order a milkshake, but they'll end up there anyways!  If you end up there give me a call and we can have some ice cream!

My T man enjoying lunch at Jonesy's earlier this week.

Just a note--since I have already been asked this--I was not asked (by Jonesy's or anyone else) to write specifically about this local establishment and am receiving no reimbursement or reward for doing so.  It is simply one of the many charms of Paris that I wish to enlighten my city dwelling friends about.  :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hometown Love Week 1

Ok, I suck at blogging.  I just do.  If I could manage to transfer all the things I write in a notebook to this blog then I might have something to post like once a week.  But that never works out for me.  I always have plans of things to write about and that never works out for me either.  I always think summer would be a good time to try and write some posts...but then ya's summer and who wants to do anything at all??  But you know me...I just don't know when to call it quits.  So here we go again.

I have a plan for the summer.  A plan of something to write about.  Something important to me.  My hometown.  I have been visiting quite a few people this past year.  And quite a few people have come to visit me.  During those visits it never fails that someone comments about my hometown.  Usually it is along the lines of "I don't even know how you can live there.  Aren't you miserable?  You should just move."  So I am on a mission to make those city dwelling friends of mine love my tiny town.  (Ok, maybe not love it, but at least recognize why I love it.)  If you are reading this and you already love my town then that's great!  Maybe you can agree with some of the things I think.  I plan to break it up and write a little each week this summer.  Maybe I will be able to keep writing even after summer is over!  (But you know how those plans usually go...)

So...Hometown Love Week 1
I love my hometown--which is Paris, MO for those of you who don't know (be warned if you're a stalker though...I am not at all interesting)--because it is just that:: HOME!  Doesn't everyone have fond memories of the first place they thought of as home?  This is mine.  My history is here.  Everywhere I go there is a memory or a story.  There is something that enables me to feel.  The field where my first serious boyfriend and I used to look at stars and dream.  The barn where we broke up and new dreams were born.  The building that was my Jr. High where I spent the awkward teen years.  The church steps I sat on with my friends listening to music.  The driveway where I took skateboarding lessons.  (I know...I'm a dork.)  The library where my sweet momma would take me to "shop" for books when I was little.  Everyone has a place full of those things and this is mine.

I love knowing someone everywhere I go.  When I was a teenager it meant if I was acting up in town my mom knew about it before I even got home.  Now it means there are people scattered all over my daily life who know what's going on with me.  They care and are invested in my life.  When I am preparing for a 5K they are asking me how it is going while I am checking out at the grocery store.  When I have succeeded (or failed) at something they are encouraging me and cheering me on while I am shopping for curtains at the Dollar General.  These are my people and they know my life.  "But isn't it annoying to have people in your business all the time?"  Yes.  But fortunately for me that has not been an issue because as previously  mentioned I am pretty boring.  Here is a way that has worked out to my benefit though.  In December when my dad had a stroke a few meaningful things happened that would not have happened in a city.  First, as my sister was trying to call me in the middle of the night and I didn't answer she called a friend and was prepared to send them to my house to knock on my door/window/whatever they needed to do to wake me up.  I ended up calling her back before that happened...but it was an option.  Second, I knew that the first responders and EMT/paramedics responding to that call were people who knew and loved my family.  One of them later told me that as soon as he heard my dad's name he just drove as fast as he could toward my house wondering the whole time if anyone had gotten ahold of me yet.  Third, people checked on me.  They checked on my dad too, but they checked on me.  One of my mom's friends put gas in my car one day because the hospital was an hour away and he knew that a two hour round trip several times a week was expensive.  He didn't ask...he just did it.  One of my neighbors took care of my pets.  My coworkers offered to drive me to the hospital and invited me to their family gatherings since it was Christmas time.  People cared.  And it was amazing.  It made me feel lucky to be a part of this community.
Does this kind of community caring happen in the city?  I am sure it does.  If you are one of the people who is lucky enough to be plugged into a community within your city.  But for some it doesn't.  One of my best friends lives in a large city and doesn't know her neighbors yet after a little over two years.  My community is here.  And I love it.

So that's reason one.  Probably nothing new and nothing spectacular.  I love my hometown because it is my home.  It is where I found a community to be a part of.

Next week I hope to write about one of the many great places in my town.  Stay tuned.