Good to be home

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 25, 2006

Recently, I visited Dallas, Texas. It’s a little difficult not to notice some big differences between Big D and Selma.

First of all, Dallas has a lot more of everything – of course, its metroplex has almost six million people, and I think there is a restaurant for each of them.

In fact, according to its Convention and Visitors Bureau web site, Dallas has more restaurants per capita than New York City. Take your pick – sushi, Filipino, tons of Thai, Pakastani, Indian, vegetarian, and of course, steak, barbecue and plenty of Tex-Mex, Southwestern and Mexican food.

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It seemed like on every street corner there is a donut shop (although I only saw one Krispy Kreme location). Bakeries, coffee houses, tea rooms – you name it, you can eat it in Dallas.

That’s the good side of where having more is a good thing.

The negative side is traffic. Everywhere. Thousands and thousands of people in cars all vying for the same spot in the same lane. (Or so it seems). It takes 30 minutes to get 10 miles. And, although I’m sure most of them think of themselves as good drivers, Dallasites are not. They weave in and out of traffic. They cut off other drivers. I was rear-ended by a vehicle and I pulled over, since I believe that’s the proper and legal thing to do. The other driver just stared and waved as he drove past me.

Made me feel much better about the slower pace in Selma.

Another thing you notice about Dallas is the diversity. I was staying in a middle class subdivision – very typically All-American brick homes with manicured front lawns and privacy fences around the back yard. There was a nice park across the street with a walking trail, well-kept and well-lighted. When I went walking in the mornings, I noticed all types of children – white, Hispanic, black, even one Nigerian child – all waiting for the school bus.

I had a taxi driver from Egypt and in just about every restaurant or shop, it was like the U.N.

In Selma, we think of ourselves as diverse, and to a certain extent, we are.

But we really are not facing a lot of the issues of larger, more urban areas that have a multi-cultural population.

I’m sure that 15 or 20 years ago, folks in Dallas didn’t think they’d become a melting pot like New York City, but that’s what has happened in just about every major metropolitan area in the country.

It’s going to come to the smaller towns in the South as well, so we might as well learn to get along now. That way, we’ll be ready.

As always, it’s good to be home.

Tammy Leytham is editor of The Times-Journal.