I was downtown the other day with the kids while people were beginning to prepare the downtown for Riverfest. It occurred to me just how much I loved living in this small town. When I was a teenager, I always said I was going to go away for school and live in some exotic place, or at least a city that had a decent mall. And I did go away for a little while; but when I got married, I came back. And I began to appreciate Vicksburg. I appreciate not only its own history, but the little piece of history that was created from my own life. I love that I can remember playing in Astro park (or where it used to be), that I go to the church I was baptized in as a child, that I can drive by where I used to live.
And all those things I didn't like about Vicksburg: no good places to buy clothes, no chain restaurants; well, I count that as a blessing now for several reasons. We either live in a town that A: is too small to keep chain stores here or B:has citizens who would rather promote local business. Either way, how can that be bad? A small town is a wonderful place to raise children and grow old. And local business, well, that is the heart of America, not to mention, the heart of my own family now. I am thankful people choose to shop at places like Sassafras and eat at places like Walnut Hills or perhaps use Berkley Security for their alarm needs (had to fit a plug in there!). Vicksburg's loyalty to small businesses is says something about its people: we stick together; we plug through difficult times and sustain each other; we care about our people and our future generations. And those small businesses, well they invest back into our town. They are the ones who give donations for our fundraisers, who sponsor little league teams and who help put on our parades and community functions. This is exactly the kind of town I want to live in and I am so thankful our roots are here.