Fran and I hosted four high school girls from Tupelo Mississippi this weekend. They were part of a 40 person church youth choir visiting Arizona and Nevada. They sang for us at church on Sunday and they were awesome to listen to and to watch their youthful energy. Marion, Lizzie, Mary Morgan & Caitlin only spent two nights with us but they were such a treat to talk to and to learn a little bit about life in their town of Tupelo.
We have lived in Phoenix now for eight years so we have lost a little of our memory of when we lived in small towns like Hendersonville (population 10,000 ... on a good day), Utica (population 60,000 ... and shrinking) , South Bend (60,000 ... and also shrinking), or Bellbrook (5,000). Being in a Phoenix metropolitan area of 4M people brings a certain numbness to many things that go on in a big city and memories fade about the simple life afforded in small towns.
Tupelo is known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley and currently stands at a population of about 37,000 people. Talking with the girls brought back a lot of the small town memories that we experienced when our kids were younger and grew up in an environment very rich in simple pleasures. We have lived in six towns/cities before Phoenix and yet never had a fence between us and our neighbors, the schools were close by, there was time to spend with friends, and one time when my hub caps were taken ... the police came to my house to take the report ... it even made the paper the next day :-)
Marion, Lizzie, Mary Morgan & Caitlin reminded me of those times when they spoke one evening about the "trouble" they used to get into when they were younger ... one had "two" timeouts during pre-school ... another got caught eating chocolate toppings off a birthday cake at school and had to sit in detention with her girl friend.
So girls ... thanks for staying with us and I hope we see you again!
"Miss Fran" and "Mr Dave"