A heartfelt farewell to Selma

Published 8:21pm Thursday, August 15, 2013

As you read this column, there’s a good chance I’m driving down Highway 80, bound for Birmingham. After living and working in Selma for a year, I’m closing one chapter and opening another. And although I’m excited to see what the future holds, I know I will never forget all the amazing adventures I had this past year and all the wonderful people I have met.

When I first decided to move to Selma, I’ll admit I received mixed reactions. Most of my friends were shocked I wasn’t moving to a bigger city like Birmingham or Atlanta. My family was somewhat concerned, as Selma was unknown to them — besides what they read in history books.

Well, after a solid year in Selma, I feel like I truly got to know this city and its residents. Hearing ghost stories at Old Cahawba, riding a tractor through snowy white fields of cotton, eating honey fresh from the comb and wearing an authentic gown for the Battle Ball are just a few memories I’ll take with me.

There’s no doubt in my mind I’ll tell my future children about my first job out of college. I’ll tell them all about the great adventures I had at the ripe age of 22. Getting to personally interview the Rev. Jesse Jackson and walking with the Vice President of United States of America across the Edmund Pettus Bridge are two monumental moments in my journalism career I will remember forever. Being able to hear World War II veterans tell what it was like to battle overseas and listening to a foot soldier explain how they were beaten during the civil rights movement are some stories I was privileged to hear and tell while working for the Times-Journal.

And while I had a great time on the job, the good times didn’t end there. There were countless nights I came home from work, usually well after 10 p.m., and went straight to my front-porch swing and spent hours lost in conversation with great friends. I know I will never forget those special Selma nights I spent talking about the strange things I covered that day and usually laughing until it hurt. And I’m sure I still have a little bit of Dallas County mud caked on my cowboy boots from nights I spent out on dirt roads, crammed in the backseat of a pickup truck blasting country songs and driving until the sun came up.

Without realizing it, I guess Selma worked its way into my heart. And as much as it saddens me to leave this special place, I know I’ll always have a piece of Selma with me wherever I go. Not only did I find great career experience here, but I also grew as a reporter and a person — and I only have this city, and its wonderful people to thank for that. Whoever comes next to fill my shoes, I hope they realize what a great adventure they’re in for.

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