Archive | Small Town Life

Kickin’ It

Baby post below after my rant.

Today I was at work from 7am until just after 7:30pm because it’s the last day of pre-planning and open house was tonight.  I was in a dress and heels all day with a smile on my face.  To say I am tired is beyond an understatement.

Imagine my surprise when I came home after 8pm to a completely dark house (C. was still at work).  I tried the kitchen light and it wouldn’t turn on.  I went out the front door to go ask my neighbor if her power was off when I saw a notice taped to my front door.  The city had turned my power off because I hadn’t paid the bill.

I immediately ran to the library because I!Was!Sure!I!Had!Paid!.  Turns out I had, but not enough.  See, I set $110 to be automatically deducted from our checking account every 15th of the month.  I change the amount depending on the bill.  Last month the bill was $110.34 (and that’s for electric, gas, water, sewer, AND trash pickup, bytheway) and when I went to edit the bill I accidentally only paid the city $10.34.  Oops. 

And now the bill was accidentally 21 days late, though it had been partially paid on time.  And no, it didn’t matter to the city that it was only $100 OR the fact that I’ve never been late before.  So I did what any small town southern girl would do.

I called my momma.

Who called the city commissioner who is her best friend’s son.

Who called the head of the utility department.

Who called the electrical department.

And a nice man named Joe turned our power back on a little after 9.  It’s time like these that I love my small hometown and am so glad I am from here.  …though I’m still pretty ticked they turned off my power in the first place!

________________ Baby Post ___________________

Today on the way to work I had a strange sensation in my extreme lower abdomen on the left side.  It felt like I was riding a really scary roller coaster and my stomach was turning inside out just a little–a fluttery-like feeling.  This lasted for about twenty seconds.  I talked to a couple of ladies at work and they confirmed what I thought.

I FELT THE BABY KICK FOR THE FIRST TIME TODAY!!

I can’t believe my little gal/guy is growing fast and strong enough for me to feel them kick at fifteen weeks, five days. And what’s even more exciting is that I get to see them on Saturday for our 3D/4D ultrasound!

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Selling Our Wares

I’ve mentioned on here a couple of times how my grandmother and I planted a large vegetable garden back in April.  I bring to the table a horticulture degree, she comes with 76 years of farming experience.  With those two things we can sure grow some vegetables.  I keep forgetting to take a picture of our beautiful garden–I must get to that this week while the sunflowers are still blooming.

But I digress.

Every Saturday morning we get up at 6am and go into the field to harvest our little crop of zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, peas, squash, etc. and we weigh them and take them to a local farmers’ market to sell.  By 10am we are sold out each week.  I also sell my jams and small flower arrangements.

Here are a few pictures (please do not pay attention to the bloated pregnant woman in the pictures…haha!):

farmersmarket1.jpg

farmersmarket2.jpg

It really is a lot of fun and if you live in the area I suggest you come and visit us!

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The 12,497,818th Example of Small Town America

Since before I was born the First Methodist in my hometown has a June fish fry fundraiser.  I can remember fondly eating fried catfish fingers after a long day of playing softball at our local Legion park.  A big plate of fish, coleslaw, and homemade hushpuppies would be sat in front of you.  Pitchers of sweet tea and little bowls of pickles were out on the table and after you ate your fill you had a choice of pound cakes made by the ladies auxiliary.

I haven’t been to the fish fry in at least ten years and honestly didn’t even think they still had it until I drove by the church yesterday and saw the sign announcing the fundraiser.

C. and I just got back and I can honestly say it was as good as I remember it.  Maybe better.  We’re debating whether or not to go back tonight for dinner!

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Ideal Southern Weekend

This past weekend was perfect.  Great weather, food, wine, and people.  We had the jazz festival and wine tasting Saturday and Mother’s Day activities Sunday. 

walking.jpg

Walking to the jazz festival. 

jazz.jpg

One of the high school acts around 2pm.  The professionals didn’t take the stage until after 6pm.  By that point I had already attended the *four* hour long wine tasting and didn’t think it was wise to carry my camera with me.

grandmothers.jpg dads.jpg daniel.jpg

We did Mother’s Day at C.’s parents’ house.  My dad, mother, and grandmother, along with C.’s parents, grandmother, sister and her husband.

Today I am sunburned and tired.  But it was a great weekend and I’d do it all over again if I could.  This weekend: my dad’s 61st and our historic home dinner club!

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The People Are Coming! The People Are Coming!

Just warning ya’: it’s going to be another one of those days were I wax on and on about my quaint little town.

One of the reasons I love living in the downtown area of town is that you’re always right in the middle of it.

On Fridays when I take Vivi for her late afternoon walk we see people all dressed up going to one of the three fabulous restaurants we have.  On Saturday mornings we see groups of cyclists leave from the bike shop to go on their weekly ride around the lake.  On Sundays everyone comes into town for church.

But the best days are when there is a festival. 

The city blocks off Main Street and they let whoever is doing a festival have free rein.  We have spring sports festivals where little kids in baseball uniforms ride in the back of trucks and throw candy at the crowd.  We have the Tour de Georgia and Tour de Atlanta where we listen to live bands and watch as cyclists speed down Main Street.  We have harvest festivals, Old Southern Summer Days, and lots of 5Ks, as well as The First Methodist Fish Fry and the Christmas tree lighting.

But this weekend is the mack daddy of them all: the first annual Art and Jazz Festival.  It’s rumored that downtown will be packed with people and they’ll be no place to park (good thing we live less than a block away!).  Artists, food, a wine tasting, and lots of live music.  Can it get any better?

Already I’m making a mental to-do list for our house to look the best.  Every event that has been held since we moved in has given us many visitors who are “in the neighborhood” and want a peek at the house and the work we’ve done.   I’ve invited so many people to come and even offered our front lawn for parking (oh, my poor grass!)–I just hope we have enough room!

I know it’s only Thursday, but I just can’t wait.  Hurry up weekend!

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My One Pet Peeve

I love my town.  I really, really do.  I love everything about it with my whole heart.

Except for one thing.

I’m sure you know by now I live near the railroad tracks as I live right beside downtown.  In fact, from our master bathroom you can see the top of the trains as they go by (and you certainly can hear them!).

Anyway, every once in a while a train will break down on the tracks.  And when this happens you can’t cross the tracks at any point for a few miles–yep, trains are that long.

long-train.jpg

Today one stopped, I assume it broke down, and we couldn’t cross the tracks for over an hour.  AN HOUR.  (Of course, we could just go down the road for a couple of miles and cross there, but I’m too lazy)

And for an hour I heard the railroad crossing ding ding ding from my front yard as I worked.  I thought I would go insane.

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The RR crossing at the end of our street.  All blocked.

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Real Life v. Cyber Life

There is Real Life Natalie and then there is Internet Natalie.

I would like to believe that these two people are one in the same.  And I genuinely think they are at least 90% of the time, but there are some differences.

Real Life Natalie talks really southern, gorges herself on reality TV, baby talks her animals, laughs way too loud, and likes to complain.  The other Natalie, the Cyber Life Natalie, has a tendency to only show the good stuff, act snotty, and brags.

Of course I realize I’m both these people–they’re the whole picture of myself.  But very few people know both parts.  C., for instance, knows I have a website and even watches me as I post, but has never looked at it.  Then I have lots of you (okay, maybe just five or six readers) that only know the blogging version of me.

But every once in a while these two worlds collide.

On my last post I received a comment from my neighbor across the street.  I could not believe it.  Someone I know in real life found me out here!  Since I don’t “advertise” my website, I was astonished.

Then I started thinking about if I was truly portraying myself on here the way I am in real life and I reread all my posts (well, on this site, not my previous four year old blog–that would take weeks) and I realized that, yeah, what I say is *me* for the most part.

That’s a refreshing feeling.  Except that I also tell you guys lots more stuff than people I know in real life.  For instance: you get to see inside my medicine cabinet, you know I am a naturally p.j.-wearing slob, and a bad puppy mom, just to name a few.

Anyway, I don’t know why I’m posting this…I guess because her comment made me really think and evaluate my cyberself.   

……I’ll just have to make sure and not fib about my house/street/town or she’ll call me out on it!  Ha!

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My Street

I know I’ve mentioned it before on here, but I love our street.  I feel so lucky to not only live in my dream house, but also on my dream street.

Picture in your mind the perfect street in a small southern town. 

Envision a short street, with a sidewalk of course, ten or so beautiful old homes, and giant trees.  Picture it around seven in the evening.  Add to that children riding their bikes, dogs in the front yard, screen doors slamming, and women working in their flowerbeds. 

That is my street.  And every single day this spring it has been like this.

I know my neighbors.  I go to dinner with them.  We call each other and talk.  We’ll even leave notes in each other’s mailboxes letting them know we’re going out of town for a weekend so they’ll watch our house for us.  We call the city about fixing street lights.  We bring each other food if we’re sick.

I feel so blessed to have my street and the people who live there.

our-street.jpg

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What it Would be Like to be Our Dog

I think Vivi is one lucky canine.  Not just every dog out there gets taken on long walks where they get to look at pretty old houses, see and hear trains go by, and play in the city cemetery.  We have two routes we take and this is the shorter one of the two. 

First, we start walking. lets-go.jpg

Bye Bye, Spring Street!  our-street.jpg

The first house we pass used to be a boarding house,realty-co.jpg 

then we pass two houses that have recently been renovated. double-pen-turned-bungalow.jpg eng-vernacular-revival.jpg

We turn down another street and we see the Old Academy.  old-academy.jpg 

Here we are! were-here.jpg

And we get to play some mean-vivi.jpg

and we become very tired. tired.jpg

So we start going home. poor-old-house.jpg 

We go over the railroad tracks, rr.jpg

& see the house, turned funeral home, turned law office. law-office.jpg

Onto the presbertyerian church (parking lot being paved), pentecostal.jpg

then the First Pentecostal Church, presb-church.jpg

& our downtown plus the park named after my grandmother.park-and-downtown.jpg

We go back over the RR tracks. rr2.jpg

Almost home! going-back-home.jpg

We turn onto our street and we’re home! home.jpg

Last week my little town was voted #3 in CNN Money’s 100 Best Places to Live and Launch (launch a business, not a rocket).  And just why would someone want to live here and start a business?  Well, from the above pictures you can see a few reasons that made us move back to my hometown (& not including that our city is also home to the largest mall in the southeast, as well as a 37,000 acre lake that is less than two miles from our house and is in the ninth fastest growing county in the country).

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The first Puckett’s restaurant, ca. 1910There is a restaurant in our town (which is also my hometown, I should note) where no matter what time you go in you will see at least three people who know you, including one who is related to you, and perhaps even someone who has changed your diaper.

It’s a cafeteria-style restaurant that’s open five days a week from 7am ’til 7pm and it’s a meat-and-three type of place that serves southern food: fried chicken, country fried steak, beef tips and gravy, fried chicken livers, fried catfish, and on Fridays they bake chicken for the healthy tourists.  They’ve got collards, pintos, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, okra, stewed tomatoes, turnip greens.  They’ve got chocolate cake, strawberry cake, chocolate pie, chess pie, pecan pie.

…and why did I start naming their menu?  I must be hungry.  I digress.

Anyway, we’ve been going there for years, and before I was born, my parents went, and before my parents were born, their parents went.  This restaurant is that much of a staple in our town.  Last night my husband (who is most definitely NOT from my hometown) and I took his dad, mom, and grandmother there.

I saw my grandmother’s best friend, our electrician, and two people who went to my childhood church.  Each stopped by our table and visited with me for a while.  And this was just a random Tuesday night–imagine if it was Friday at lunch–I’d know everybody!

After they left, C.’s family mused at what it must be like to live in a small town like I did growing up and I have to say it was/is great.  That’s why, even though C. & I moved away from here after we married, I was very glad to move back last November.  Sure there are downsides: everyone, and I mean *everyone* know your business (how much your car/house/wedding cost, if you were a “good” kid, if you got home too late last night, or if you spend too much time down at the American Legion), but there are also some really great aspects too.  Each person last night asked about my dad’s recent shoulder operation, how my grandparents were doing, and how restoring the old Brogdon House was going and how they had so many memories going up there as a child.  It’s very uplifting to be in a place where everyone knows your name and your history.

….just don’t ask me after I have a run-in with a nosy neighbor/family friend/relative…I may have a completely different view of small town life then! 

The first Puckett’s restaurant, ca. 1910

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