This time last year we were really just starting to get used to being in our new home. Not only had we moved from the heart of the northern United States to the best small town in a popular Southern state, we went from a large city where it averaged between 30 minutes to an hour to get almost anywhere in the city on a normal day if it wasn’t rush hour to a town where the same amount of time can send you on a leisurely drive clear around the town.
This is part of the appeal of Elkin. With the exception of those who lose track of time on a school day, the number of people on the streets is not just manageable but comforting. Many mornings and even evenings walking through downtown is like stepping into a scene from the Twilight Zone with signs of recent life but no bodies to be discovered.
Both a blessing and a curse it is nice to walk into a restaurant or store and recognize at least a few of the people, however that means there are not enough of them to justify keeping favorite places open midweek when people are less likely to go out.
For some people this can really be a problem. Their jobs mean they are working while the rest of the people in town and the tourists who are visiting are enjoying the services provided by these individuals who have nowhere to go on their Tuesday/Wednesday weekend just because they made the choice to live in a small town.
Some people have made the choice to trade the security and friendliness of Elkin for the convenience offered by a place like Raleigh, while others see not just this job but this town as a stopping point on their way to success.
This has been the topic of many discussions as Explore Elkin initiated conversations about the perception and improvement of our town. People want Elkin children to return home after they graduate college or to not leave at all. People want Elkin to become a destination for shopping, dining, arts of every variety, natural entertainment and education. People appreciate the positive interactions they have with wait staff, clerks and other residents.
What we need to appreciate is the time and resources of those who make our lifestyles possible. As we are having conversations about how to create an environment for our high-schoolers that they will want to live in as adults, we should consider how to shape our town culture in such a way as to encourage as much joy in those who serve as we do in those who are being served.
By appreciating our people from the bottom up, whether it is age, position or even perceived status, we will foster the exact environment that will make people want to visit, live in, and stay in Elkin.
Beanie Taylor is a staff reporter for The Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com, 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.