So when will you be leaving us?

Published 8:03pm Friday, August 9, 2013

When I first moved to Selma and started learning my way around town — covering stories and meeting many of you — one of the most frequently asked questions I would hear was, “So when are you leaving us?”

The question shocked me as I had been in town not two weeks, and folks were already wondering when I was going to pack up and head out. Were you trying to get rid of me so soon? In answering the question I assured everyone I had no intention of leaving any time soon. And after a few months I think they started to believe me, because here we are one year later and I haven’t heard the question in quite some time.

In this one year I have seen all of Selma’s different seasons. I’ve seen hurricane floodwaters ravage neighborhoods, heard ghost stories at Old Cahawba, sang songs of praise at Selma’s houses of worship, shopped downtown for Christmas gifts, drank tea with some of the most interesting characters I’ve ever met, sat through more school board meetings than I’d care to remember, mourned the loss of several Selma legends, laughed at things heard over the police scanner, learned a lot about our history and a lot about life and most importantly, I met so many people who will forever be in the stories I tell as I grow older.

There’s no denying, Selma is special. The city and its people will always have a place in my heart.

On a recent visit with my family in Birmingham, sharing stories of interesting people I’ve met and the things I’ve done on the job — like beekeeping in Marion Junction, talking with one of our congressional representatives and even joking about getting pedicures with one of my favorite local judges — my 12-year-old brother, hanging on my every word, looks at me and said, “You konw, you’ve really changed since you moved to Selma.”

Not knowing where he was going with this question, as 12-year-olds tend to be brutally honest, I nervously asked what he meant.

“You like country music now,” he said, which of course, was totally unrelated to any of my “riveting” stories.

I began to laugh in agreement and explained that now when I hear country songs I can’t help but think of Selma — it seems as though they were all written about this place we call home. Songs about wide-open spaces are clearly about the drive down U.S. Highway 80. Songs about dirt roads were obviously written by those who’ve torn up their share of Dallas County’s red dirt roads. And don’t even get me started on the songs about country boys.

This week I can finally answer the question so many began asking me a year ago — when will I be leaving. And although this may be my last week in Selma, the people I have met and the memories I have made will always be with me. And anytime I start to forget, I’m sure there will be a country song on the radio to remind me. Thank you all for letting me into your lives each day through the pages of The Selma Times-Journal.

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