I booked a plane ticket for Oklahoma months ago with a girls' weekend on my mind. When I landed, however, I wanted to nail my Frye kicks to the ground. No longer did I want to head north to Manhattan, Kansas. Instead, I stopped the world from spinning a little too quickly and just stayed home.
It's no secret small towns make my top five list of the most beautiful traits of America. I love the way communities boom when all hands are on deck. The way an entire community can help raise a child. The way you can drive a 4430 to school during spirit week and be crowned Homecoming Queen on a Friday night.
Small towns are the foundation of everything that is good in this world.
In graduate school, I stumbled across a blog many of you know by heart often refreshing my browser to check for a new post. Then - it was a little rough around the edges, sans digital ads, and winning a mixer giveaway didn't seem like a longshot. I loved the way the girl behind the keyboard poured her heart into her family - and her community. And her wit. Man, I loved her wit.
Saturday, my mom and I drove a few miles up the road - stopping every 10 miles at an antique store - to visit a new venture in Pawhuska, Okla. It was less about the destination and more about how my mom and I haven't been in a truck together in a while. Man, I forgot how much she likes to talk. And, how thrift shops tug at her soul.
People from all over the region lined up for blocks to spend their hard-earned cash money in small town, Oklahoma. As I held our place in line (for two hours) making friends with those around us, my mom ventured into every single store in town. Pawhuska is going to reap the rewards of this store in more ways than a TravelOk listing and sales tax, because while this store has a line wrapped around the block the other stores are swinging their doors open saying "come on in!"
Lines typically are not my thing. However, it was clear the other folks in line were not present for celebrity or autographs, although the Drummond kids walking the line like Mickey and Minnie at Disney was something Pawhuska hasn't seen before. Folks were standing in line to celebrate a good thing about a small town.
It's when we invest in small towns they can truly thrive. When kids can be proud of their hometowns, they'll come back. When small businesses can keep their lights on, the town can become a destination.
So, take my cash money, Ree.
Because your mercantile on the bustling main street of Pawhuska is the perfect combination of Antropologie, the feed store, and all my favorite boutiques. Take my money and make more jobs, give back to this special corner of Oklahoma and keep telling your story.
And, please, for the love of everything holy, open an online store.