Katherine Robinson, staff writer for Stephens Life, tells of her experiences as a city dweller visiting a small town for the time.
I’ve grown up mainly in Boston and spent a couple of years in a suburb outside of Indianapolis. Up until recently, I have never been to a small town. This past weekend, I went with a close friend, Olivia O’Dell, a fashion communications major, to her hometown of Lexington, Missouri- where everything is small.
As soon as I stepped through Olivia’s front door I felt the comfort of a true home, and although it wasn’t my own, it was wonderful. Yvette O’Dell (Olivia’s mother), who I had met previously, embraced me in one of the warmest hugs I have ever received and offered Olivia and I some delicious home-cooked chili.
The next morning, I received a rather rude awakening. The O’Dells happen to live directly across from the Lexington high school and the school’s band decided to practice in the street in front of their house at 8:30 in the morning! I grumpily glared out the window and stared at all of them while holding up three fingers- which Olivia had coined as a “W” for “wack”. “Wack”, indeed.
There was never a time while driving around town that we did not run into someone that Olivia knew. Whether they were in a car or at the local grocery store, Dave’s Country Market. While pulling into a gas station, Olivia pointed out several of her cousins. Later that night, a man walking across the street ended up being her cousin as well. I’ve only ever been close in proximity to my immediate family, so my mind was pretty blown by the whole small-town vibe. It was so strange to be somewhere where everyone knows everyone.
The weekend continued on Saturday, when I went thrift shopping in Kansas City with Olivia, her mom Yvette, and her grandma Miss Gladys. Miss Gladys took us all out to lunch at The Golden Corral in Kansas City, which I had never been to before. It was like walking into some kind of food fantasy buffet. Almost any type of food you could possibly want. I was overwhelmed by all of the options and ended up having a strange plethora of meat as well as an embarrassing amount of pickles on my plate.
Olivia shakes her head at me and holds up three fingers.
That night we went to a friend of Olivia’s older brother, Kellon’s house in Richmond, a town less than fifteen minutes away from Lexington. When we get there, I couldn’t help but notice the ample amount of camouflage in the room. Not to mention the cowboy boots and John Deere logos. Despite my initial reaction, some of them ended up being pretty cool people. Not the kind of people that I had ever met before, but definitely interesting.
Then came lazy Sunday, where I awkwardly remained passed out on the living room couch until 2:30 in the afternoon while numerous people walked in and out and went about their day. I woke up to Olivia’s unamused expression that she usually gives me, and she informed me that dinner was ready.
Another delicious home cooked meal- my tummy was in heaven. I was so intoxicated by the aroma of the barbecue fried chicken and baked macaroni and cheese that I drunkenly stumbled into the kitchen and filled up my plate like it was nobody’s business.
The remaining time until Olivia and I hit the road was spent lounging in the living room with Yvette and Gladys, Olivia and I watched Sex and The City on the television while Yvette and Gladys planned a church event. For the first time in a long time, I felt at ease. I think I needed to get out of Columbia for a while- staying in the same place for so long can be tiring. The small town of Lexington and the comfort of Olivia’s home did just the trick.