Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Matter of Perspective

While watching the news the other night, a San Angelo resident who was being interviewed referred to San Angelo as "a small town." Now, before continuing, consider that San Angelo is roughly 100,000 folks.

I've heard folks from towns this size over the years refer to their cities as "small towns," and I've always found this amusing. Now, granted, towns the size of San Angelo are a great deal smaller than Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and other much larger cities, but to call a city of 100,000 folks a small town seems a bit of a stretch to me.

Although we moved around some when I was a lad, I consider Fairfield, Texas, my hometown. It is where we lived when I was born, and it is where I spent most of my school years. At my graduation, the town consisted of roughly 1,500 folks, and there were 49 students in my class. If you look Fairfield up, you will find it is about triple in size today compared to the time when I prowled its streets. To me, towns like Waco, San Angelo, and even nearby Corsicana (roughly 20,000 souls at that time) seemed large to me. I attended university in Huntsville, Texas (Sam Houston State University), and at 20,000 folks in the town and 10,000 at the university, I thought I was in a metropolis.

While growing up, I literally knew the name of everyone in my high school, and most folks in my hometown. You can't say that about a town the size of San Angelo. Most folks can shop at one of our 3 Walmarts, eat at a local restaurant, and go to a movie without ever bumping into anyone they know.

To be honest, I always considered myself a "city kid" when I was growing up. My maternal grandmother lived in the small community of Kirvin about 10 miles west of Fairfield. That small town had fewer than 100 folks when I was growing up. And my paternal grandparents lived in the country along the Freestone/Limestone county lines. Both sets of grandparents relied on outhouses during my formative years. When I visited them, I felt pretty sophisticated since my home had indoor plumbing and other modern conveniences.

So, I wonder what folks who consider San Angelo a small town think about places like Fairfield and Kirvin.


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