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posted by Tom Senyitko in Local

What Is Small Town America? Athens has it.

February 17, 2013

We have been asked 100's of times " why Athens"? After 50 years, I up and left my home town in quest of a better place to raise my kids. My hometown Annandale Virginia sounds small. Was small town America when I was schooling. Then something happened. Urban sprawl hit us. We got swallowed up by Washington DC growth. When opportunity presented itself, we began a search for a place my kids will call their hometown.
After a year layover in the wonderful town of Jefferson, we decided on Oconee county. Now, Jefferson is quite remarkable. Don't overlook what these fantastic people have. Everywhere you turn, there is someone you know. Someone knows someone you know. People who know you and you will eventually know. Some don't, but I like this. I like knowing others will watch out for you and your sons and daughters with respect. I hope the homies of Jefferson know what they have. They have small town America.
Unfortunately Jefferson wasn't our final landing spot. Our work is in Athens. Gotta get closer to work. From the suburbs we are programed to get closer. Bishop is close enough.
Bishop is small town America. Heck, Bishop is a post office and an antique dealer. That is small. Oconee county is all about raising kids. My hometown is all about commuting and traffic and hating on thy neighbor in the other car.
I love going to the store and talking to friends. I love seeing them at the gas station. I love seeing them at the park. I love the teachers and admin at the schools. I love the school bus driver who doubles as our blueberry farmer. I love no traffic. I love no snow. I love clean air. I love cotton fields and goat pastures.
For the past umteen months our family has been in a true medical crisis. Crisis of which one family without friends could not handle. We moved away from Annandale for this reason. Nobody cares about anybody anymore. All about me mentality.
As soon as we put out the MAYDAY signal, our holler was answered. Scores of friends to help with the kids, multiples offering household help, can't count how many cooked us wonderful meals. Folks offering to run our businesses. Grocery shoppers, grass cutters, animal caretakers, ect. Small town people have big hearts. I love that. I hope my kids grow up with big giving hearts. Surrounded by Athenians I hope it rubs off. For you locals , it is natural for you. For me, I am learning.
Finally after 53 years, I can honestly say, I love my neighbors. I can only hope the same is true for them

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