The little town of Philip is dying. Wrong!
Ever since the first tiny settlement towns began longing for “big city” status, the small communities of America have been dying – or so people say. If that is true, then explain the ideas of “suburbia,” of “bedroom communities,” of living in a “country home,” and explain the “main street rot” being experienced by the bigger cities. There are many more such questions whose answers are obvious.
Though so many people live in metropolises, what do they dream about? What is depicted on TV and in magazines? People long for a quaint little place with a picket fence. Pickups and other four-wheel drives are advertised and desired, seemingly more than cars. If just country folk bought cowboy boots and cowboy hats, the industries would go bankrupt. The country-western music industry would go the same way. Some popular country-fied TV series were “Dallas” (ranching and oil drilling), “Green Acres” and “Hee Haw” (country humor), “Superboy” (Smallville), and the list goes on. Most older city people loved movies such as “Urban Cowboy,” “Coal-miner’s Daughter,” and others. Why are South Dakota and other, less-populated states such tourism-rich areas? Why are so many calendars full of nature pictures rather than big city pictures?
Some small towns may disappear, but most are just too stubborn. Philip and its people are a prime example of such a town.
Not being on the interstate is actually an advantage to Philip. Businesses exist and expand on their own merits. Philip is a hub of the surrounding towns, despite the others having traffic advantages. Philip’s healthcare industry is growing in size and quality. The Philip Ambulance Crew has been awarded the best in the state. The bank is growing in the same way. The grocery store has expanded. The livestock auction draws sellers and buyers from near and far. Other towns envy the green golf course here. The school is known for its athletic and scholastic quality. Students are not cut from any team, and they cheer even if they only warm the bench. High school seniors enjoy many large, local scholarships. Economic development monies are available and just waiting to blossom into realized dreams. The theater, amateur baseball, youth baseball, and Lake Waggoner are all community-strengthening attributes. There are more organizations helping with volunteer work and community improvement than you can shake a stick at. People work hard, yet different hobbies abound.
What Philip does not have is a large crime rate. It does not have political extremes tearing the population apart. It does not have students wearing gang colors. It does not have cut-throat businesses and near-monopolies purposefully trying to hurt other businesses.
No, Philip may have to get through some hard times, but it is just too stubborn to roll over and die. Watch it. Be a part of it.