Sorry to go, but optimistic for the future

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 19, 2016

For those who may not have heard, I am leaving the Picayune Item to join our sister paper, the Bogalusa Daily News.
In my short time here, I’ve come to love Picayune, Pearl River County, and her people. I was impressed to see such a vibrant and strong small community. I came to Picayune from the Mississippi Delta where, too frequently, small towns are either barely hanging on or they’re slipping away, so being a part of a Mississippi town that is at once alive and thriving was a nice change for me.
While moving away so soon was not my initial plan, I have found that happiness and satisfaction come not from any particular town but from one’s willingness to engage and be present in whatever community one finds oneself. My friends who don’t live here thought it was strange when I decided to move to Mississippi in 2009. As surely some readers deduced, I’m from Texas. I grew up in a town of 300,000. But I left that city when I was 18 years old and I headed off into small town Texas—which is quite a bit like small town anywhere else. I fell in love with small communities.
When you get down to it, most everyone wants the same things—good schools, stable homes, a good economy, safe streets and all the rest. How we get these things is up for debate, but in small communities, there is quite often a great sense that we are all accountable for our community. If our neighborhood park needs a new swing or a splash pad, we can expect some help from the city, but we also expect residents to pitch in and lend a hand. Likewise, we come together for the animal shelter, the library, the football field and for all the good things we rely on. This was true in Clarksdale and it is true in Picayune. I am sure it will be true in Bogalusa, too.
So, while I am sorry to leave, I look forward too finding out what I can do personally to help make that community stronger, better and more livable.

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