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Carol Perkins: Edmonton has lost its sense of humor?

Not just about Edmonton. . . but about small towns in general. They have lost their humor and there is a good reason for it. Progress has killed the spirit of small towns, Carol Perkins says
Epicurean Carol Perkins: Food - it is my addiction. Posted September 8, 2013, 2013

By Carol Perkins

On our radio show this week a caller made a profound statement. When asked why he had moved away, he said, "Edmonton has lost its sense of humor."


I thought for a moment about what he said and it hit me how right he was. Not just about Edmonton, his hometown, but about small towns in general. They have lost their humor and there is a good reason for it. Progress has killed the spirit of small towns.

Before the interstate system, small towns like ours thrived mainly because citizens were self-reliant. Travel was limited to neighboring towns, and a trip all the way to Bowling Green was a "trip" indeed. Because of the nature of the times, businesses flourished because there was no going somewhere else to buy what we needed. I can remember when there were dress shops, grocery stores, hardware stores, doctors, dentists, lawyers, drug stores, and restaurants booming in Metcalfe County and Glasgow and Columbia and all surrounding areas during the 50's and 60's and even into the 70's. Whatever we needed we bought locally or grew ourselves.

During this time small towns were always busy with shoppers, loafers, whittlers, business owners, and young people playing ball in the courthouse yard. Wednesday was stock day in Edmonton. That meant that the stockyard was the busiest place in town not only for trading and buying cattle, but also because that was the day the fruit and vegetable vendors sold their goods. I doubt a Wednesday went by that I didn't end up at the stockyard with my mother or grandmother. We now have Farmer's Markets but it isn't the same.

The town was a happening place during the day, and after stores closed it became the gathering place for many adults who parked their cars around the square and visited. Men usually stood together in front of the cars with a foot propped on a bumper and puffing on a Camel and their wives talked from window to window. While the adults were visiting, their kids were probably chasing each other in the courthouse yard, and their teens were at the Corner Restaurant having a Coke or playing the pinball machine or jukebox. Life was fun. People, in general, laughed and were happy and never complained of being overworked, depressed, stressed or anxious. At least I never heard them.

Before interstates isolated many small towns, the only way to get from point "A" to point "B" was to travel right through them. Because travel was slower, almost all communities offered hotels for those passing through. At one time there were many in Metcalfe County. Now we have the Cave Hill, which stay busy to the surprise of those who live here because we wonder what brings anyone through our town. Where are they going?

There was a time when people, in general, relaxed. Daddy went to work, Mama either worked outside the home or at home, kids went to school, and at the end of the day played in the yard with neighbors. On Saturday night they went to the Strand Theater or drove over to Glasgow to the drive-in or sometimes to the drive-in in Columbia. Sunday they went to church, visited relatives, sat in the yard, and later watched Ed Sullivan.

When Guy and I travel, we seldom veer off the interstate because we are headed for point "A," which is usually Austin, TX. On one of our trips we did take an unlikely route and what we saw was sad. Empty buildings around deserted squares or buildings turned into offices. No wonder small towns have lost their humor or their spirit. We have lost the serenity of the past for the progress of the future. However, who would go back? - Carol Perkins


This story was posted on 2013-09-15 04:15:20
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