Dreaded question: why Selma

Published 8:42pm Friday, March 1, 2013

Last week I was eating lunch at Side Porch Sandwiches and noticed a group of guys who looked to be in their late 20s. They were dressed in cool, graphic t-shirts, hoodies and skinny jeans and were surrounded by various pieces of audio and video equipment. Now I know I’ve only lived in Selma for a little more than six months, but even I knew that this group of guys was new to town.

I didn’t have a chance to say anything to them on my lunch break, but ended up running into them later that day and I had my chance. After a quick introduction, I asked them the dreaded question.  The question that I have been asked countless times since moving to Selma, and the question that always somewhat frustrates me to answer.

I looked at the group and asked them, “What in the world are you guys doing in Selma?”

It’s a question that always slightly offends me, because it implies that I shouldn’t be here or that this was an odd choice for me to make — to move to Selma and start my career at The Selma Times-Journal.

I almost felt guilty asking them the same question that makes me feel like I have to validate my very presence, but I finally understood why people ask it. This is a small town, and when someone new comes rolling in, you honestly can’t help but ask it. I had to know who they were, where they were from and what they’d be doing in our city.

It took me six months, but I finally was able to spot someone new and it made me smile knowing that I have become a real part of the city.

The group — who turned out to be a film crew from California who was visiting Selma for the week, filming a reality show for the Syfy channel — pointed out the obvious things about Selma that I first noticed when I arrived in town.

No Target. No Starbucks. No Chick-fil-a. Nowhere to hangout after work.

And while they were correct in listing several things aren’t right here in Selma, they totally missed so many things that are here.

Selma is steeped in history and each day is flavored with colorful characters. It’s the people who live here and the things they are accomplishing that make me excited to go to work each day. It’s the people that make Selma great and who I look forward to meeting and interviewing.

This weekend hundreds of new faces and new characters will be flooding the streets of Selma. And while I am an admittedly excited ball of nerves just thinking about being in the presence of the vice president of our country this weekend, I am more excited to share this experience with the people of Selma. Selma is a special place with a special history, and I feel so privileged to get to be a part of it.

And when people ask me, like I’m sure they will continue to do, what in the world I’m doing in Selma, I will be able to say that I’m just soaking up some of Selma’s history and meeting interesting people who’s stories are sure to stay with me for a lifetime.

Editor's Picks