At least once a week I like to catch up on what has been going on in my hometown through the online paper.
I start by skimming the Update to see what kinds of events the public library is putting on and when the FFA will have their next plant sale. I then make my way through football scores, marriage announcements and major headlines. It is not uncommon for me to see familiar names and faces peppered throughout the pages. I enjoy watching the younger kids I used to teach in Sunday school dominate the sports headlines and achieve big scholarships to their dream schools. I like seeing the community that helped mold and raise me continue to move and groove and love on the people who live there.
And I admit that I miss it sometimes.
My parents chose to raise my siblings and I in a loving community that is full of support and good people. My hometown took me places I never imagined possible and I am really grateful for that.
Now as I am finishing my undergrad and looking towards my future, I feel like I have a lot to thank Decatur, Texas for.
1. For my first part-time job.
At 17, I was so nervous to start working, but my first job was a positive work environment that encouraged and helped me to develop skills for the future.
2. For late night Starbucks runs.
I actually believe that the best fellowship happens over a couple cups of coffee. My friends and I would spend hours in the big comfy chairs doing homework and talking about everything under the moon.
3. For letting me make mistakes.
There were plenty of those to go around.
4. But still keeping me accountable.
I had to learn the hard way sometimes.
5. For supporting my future.
The scholarships were so helpful and gave my class and I such a boost when we left for school. It truly made me realize the importance of giving back to the community.
6. For the best Mexican food.
Casa Torres has forever ruined me. I cannot help but compare their salsa to other Mexican food restaurants and I have yet to find any better.
7. For my church family.
It is amazing how close a group of 100+ people can be, but there is so much love and support within the walls of our church. These people have been a part of my life since I was a child and continue to be 135 miles away.
8. For teachers that still keep up with me.
There were certain teachers who pushed me a little harder, encouraged me a little further and helped me reach my full potential. Receiving occasional emails or texts from them always gives me a boost of encouragement to keep going.
9. For fostering friendships.
There was never very much to do, but we always managed to have a great time when we were together.
10. For Friday Night Lights.
We did always have plans for Friday night at least.
11. For putting up with me through the awkward stages.
The braces, the hair, the blue eye shadow, the Bath & Body Works spray...it wasn't pretty, but thank you.
12. For teaching me how to be a good neighbor.
When my grandpa died, people around town brought us food and offered to take care of our animals for us. We were heartbroken, but you took care of us. Thank you for setting that example for me.
13. For buying all the fundraiser cookie dough I ever sold.
And also the rodeo tickets, fruit boxes and frozen turkeys.
14. For keeping me safe.
I always knew there were plenty of people I could call on if I had a flat tire or needed a ride.
15. For the best little movie theater.
A refuge when it got too hot in the summers.
16. And for always welcoming me home.
"But it don't matter where I'm goin'
I'll still call my hometown home."