Sunday, January 21, 2007

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

For different reasons, I have great love for these five small Texas towns, listed in order of their population. Eastland (5,000), Cisco (3,000), Throckmorton (1,000), Walnut Springs (750) and Woodson (300). Many of the people I love are from these towns and some are still there. I spent summers in these places. My grandparents have always been there, and my parents are there now. As I’ve mentioned before, small towns provide unique experiences.

I’m endlessly fascinated by life, and those who live, in small towns. But, it’s at this point I feel the compelling need to justify to the Universe that when I poke fun, it’s coming from a place of love. Because I love these places. But Lord knows, small towns provide some of the best material for big laughs.

I keep up on the news of these places thanks to mom and dad subscribing to their different newspapers. Small town papers are AWESOME. Around eight pages in length, they usually come out once or twice a week and in their pages, like any good newspaper, you can learn about the heart of that community. The people. The events. The sales and good deals. The job opportunities. The livestock for sale. The church socials. The high school highlights.

But man, are they funny. This is just a sampling of the hundreds of examples I have enjoyed over the years:

The copy writer for the advertisement department was in a hurry this day and forgot to run his ad through the grammar function on his computer.

Every town has their Gladys Kravitz and thanks to these social directors you will ALWAYS know who’s coming and going.

Everyone is kept honest by the Letters to the Editor, and your neighbors are given a public forum to defend themselves.

And the headlines always say it like it is.

I LOVE reading these papers because they are a FUNNY.

I’m bummed out because I can’t share with you my very favorite published piece of all time – a wedding announcement. I can’t lay my hands on it at the moment, but it was an amazing piece of writing offering a crystal, clear view into that moment in time when this young couple was married. Thanks to the efforts of its author, it was like you were THERE, at the wedding, sitting on the hay bales next to cousin Johnny who had been given a one day release from jail to attend the ceremonies.

The Woodson News (shown above) has become tame, and it drastically pales in comparison to the columns produced by its former writer, who has retired. I’m guessing the former writer was 90 years old, had been producing her column since the ‘50s, but she could dish up some SCOOP. I laughed until I cried when I read years ago that “Mary Ellen visited Clementine, who had her new leg in.”

Good stuff.


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