The people of Selma make the city great

Published 3:20 pm Friday, March 22, 2013

I’ve worked diligently for the last seven months to truly acclimate myself to life in Selma. I’ve finally organized my house and all of my boxes are unpacked and have a place to call their own. I no longer have to rely on both my GPS and trusty print outs of Mapquest directions to get to new locations I’m often sent for stories — I’ve finally learned my way around town. Also, I have a pretty good repertoire of names and faces going, but still get excited when I see someone I recognize and they call me out by name to say hello.What I’m trying to say is that Selma is quickly becoming a second home.

Last weekend one of my very best friends from high school drove from Birmingham down to Selma for her maiden visit. Because it was her first trip to Selma I had a long list of things written down in my notebook titled “Selma’s Must See and Do.” She too had her own list. She wanted to see and experience all of the things I had shared with her in our many conversations consumed with all things Selma.

We soon set out on our day of Selma adventures — me feeling like a Selma pro, and she feeling very far away from home.

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I took her by the obvious, iconic locations, explaining as much history as I remembered and incorporated stories from my own experiences. After a drive across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a trip to Old Cahawba and a walk through Old Live Oak Cemetery it was time to show her my Selma — the people and places who have helped make this town home.

First up was a walking tour of the cool boutiques and gifts shops downtown. As we walked through the doors of Carter Drug Co., she began to give praise to the beautiful things and asked how often I get to shop there. As we chatted and wandered through the store, I waved to a few people I recognized, when Selma City Councilman Greg Bjelke walked through the door.

Although we have only spoken a handful of times, he lit up and greeted me by name as though we were old friends. He asked how I had been doing, and wondered how I wasn’t out covering the events of Pilgrimage.

Before I could even introduce my best friend, he smiled her way and asked if she was also from Hoover. Neither she nor I could believe it was something he knew and remembered. It made both of us feel so special, and let’s be honest, it made a great impression on a first timer to Selma.

The rest of the day I showed my best friend other things around town, but knew no building or meal could compare to the people she had met and the way they made her feel about Selma. The people of Selma are what makes this place home. I am so thankful and blessed for the friendships I have already formed and look forward to what my future in Selma will bring.