When I found out I would be returning to my hometown for my Kentucky Press Association internship this summer, I’m going to be honest, I had mixed feelings.
On one hand, I’d get to see my mother everyday. On the other hand, I’d get to see MY MOTHER … every … day. (Love ya, Mom.) I hadn’t seen my mother every day since I graduated high school. And did someone say high school? I’d probably have to see all those people, too. I hadn’t seen them everyday, since, well, high school either. What happens when I run across them? Do I do a “stop and chat” or a “duck and walk?” Do I tell them congratulations because I saw they got married on Facebook or keep my Facebook stalking ways to myself? All these questions were starting to get inside my head and I had almost resigned to another summer of pushing coffee every morning at Starbucks. Now, I know I should insert some spiel here about gaining valuable experience/chance of a young journalist’s career/giving back to your community, but instead I’ll give you the real reason I overcame my reservations about being back in my hometown. Even though all of that is true, it was the paycheck that brought me back to the town I didn’t think I would ever return to. Even at a journalist salary, an interning journalist salary, it would be the most I have ever been paid in my life. I would finally be able to afford real Cheerios instead of Toasty-Os, which I’m not really convinced are toasted at all. If brand name cereal isn’t something to brag about, I don’t know what is.
At any rate, here I am, five weeks, 17 lunches with my mother, six “stop and chats” and 11 “duck and walks,” later and I must say, I am pleasantly surprised. Corbin has been changing more in the past five years than I think it did the entire 18 years when I lived here. Did you guys know Motley Crew was here? At a place called The Arena at the Southeastern Kentucky Agriculture and Exposition Complex? I mean, the title has ten words in it.
The only other places in town with that long of a title are churches and a few banks.
And Corbin has a coffee shop that isn’t corporate? Not many small towns have been able to sustain a business like that in an economy like this. (I’ll be in to get my large Sumatra tomorrow morning, Valerie.)
While long titles and delicious coffee are impressive, the thing I’ve been most impressed with happened recently.
I covered a Corbin Chamber of Commerce general membership luncheon held at the (going to abbreviate this) Tech Center where the Corbin Office of Economic Development discussed the findings of a plan that they call the city’s 20/20 Vision Plan. Although it didn’t include free eye exams for all, it did provide a much-needed look at our city. It showed how we could encourage economic growth and development through facets such as diversity, education and tourism, which, in turn, will help the citizens of Corbin.
Equally as impressive as the words in the plan were the words of the presenter. Grace on the Hill United Methodist Church pastor Tim Thompson, who was part of the 18-member Vision Committee, spoke about the strengths and weakness of the community. It is encouraging to see the spirit of change in my home community. I must say though, I hope the plan doesn’t remain in the packet they handed out to everyone and that steps are actually taken to put the plan in motion.
While there are many flaws still to be bickered about in Corbin, such as rock star busses blocking up traffic or the Moonbow Coffeehouse not creating a delivery service to my office, I think Corbin is taking responsibility for its future and taking steps in the right direction. Being gone for five years has allowed me to appreciate Corbin for what it is and realize it will change when it’s ready and there are people who are guiding the change in the right direction. So, good job Corbin. I see we both have done some growing while I’ve been gone.