Standing up for small-town South Carolina


Kudos to Brian McCarty over at Voting Under the Influence for striking a blow for his hometown of Honea Path, SC, and, by extension, small towns everywhere.

McCarty relates a recent experience that occurred in Columbia when, in response to telling someone that he was from the Upstate community of Honea Path (population 3,504), he was asked “Why in the world would someone like you ever move to place like that?”

Instead of punctuating his affection for his hometown with a few choice words, McCarty instead eloquently laid out the virtues of Honea Path – and that of many other small towns – on his blog.

Among the highlights:

“Someone like me,” remembers being able to walk or ride my bicycle all around town to places like the library or Wilson’s Dime Store to buy baseball cards. I remember small town legends like the late Sheriff E.E. “Duck” Cooley, coming into the barber shop and putting his gun on the sink as he got his hair cut and we boys looked wide eyed at him and the gun. I remember Bill Ashley, that old marine who fought in the Pacific, teaching me how to stack hay and telling me, “I am going to show you this one time boy and one time only.”

“Someone like me” hauled hay, cut grass, and worked in the local mill. No politician I ever worked for or any big client ever taught me as much about life as growing up in Honea Path did. In Honea Path I found heroes. My neighbor growing up, Tom Moore comes to mind. He had polio as a kid, but that did not keep him from teaching me the game of basketball. His grandson carries on the family honor flying helicopters in Iraq today. There was Dr. John Taylor, who taught me how a professional ought to be and conduct his career. There was the before mentioned Bill Ashley and so many others.”

Values such as hard work, integrity and honor aren’t exclusive to small towns, but they certainly do seem to be respected more there. There also seems to be a bit more emphasis on manners and humility in smaller communities.

Is life in a small town for everyone? Probably not. Is living in a big city the root of all evil? Of course not. But many folks fortunate enough to have spent time in smaller locales seem to understand the importance of having balance in one’s life, something city residents may want to consider once in a while as they rush about, wondering why they feel like hamsters on a treadmill and their lives seem so unfulfilling.

Well said, Mr. McCarty, well said indeed.


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