Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My Beautiful, Small Hometown

When I was younger, we moved around a few times, all in the state of Missouri. By the age of ten, I didn't want to move anymore. I had good friends, had already left friends behind, and I didn't want to start all over. A little diva-ish, I know. ;) After only nine months of being back in a gorgeous little city where we thought we would stay forever, my dad was promoted once again, and he and my mom told us we were moving to this SMALL town in the middle of nowhere (at least that's how I imagined it). I did not want to go, and for years after moving there, I still said I wanted to move back to a previous home. Little did I know, I would fall in love with that small town.


If you're from my hometown, you probably refer to it as the good 'ole "WP." Home of the Zizzers. What's a Zizzer? Well, that's a good question, and so many of us have told the story so many times only to still wonder about the origin. It seems like a funny story. One day, a teacher in West Plains responded to a student by "well that's a Zizzer!" and the name stuck. Still seems a little strange, but alas, that's our school mascot. :) It's represented as a lightning bolt, and we say, a Zizzer is a Winner! May be kinda quirky, but we love it, and I'll always be a Zizzer at heart. (Plus, it's kinda cool that we hit the top ten national list for most unique mascots, following right after the Polkadots.)

My hometown is wonderful. It's a town of about 12,000 people, but it has the tiniest feel. The nearest big town is over 100 miles away. You know everyone, or at least it feels like you do. I love that feeling. Every time I drive into town (crossing that known speed trap where you know you should slow down to 55 but still are cruising at 60+), I get that warm feeling that I will probably run into at least ten people I know during that one trip home, if not many more. And that's not including all the neighbors in the subdivision where my parents' live. :)

West Plains is known for so many things, but some of my favorites have to be:

  • The fact that everyone will be there for Friday night football games, but we all know that the true winning sports' teams are the Cross Country teams. Joe Bill Dixon gets it done. :)
  • That you know if you're late going to school, you're absolutely going to get stuck by the train, but you know you can use that excuse 100 million times, and the teachers will always understand. They get stuck by it, too. 
  • Until lately, you had your pick of Mexican, Chinese, or pizza restaurants, but if you wanted a hamburger and fries, the drive-through would be your best bet. And anything other than that, you probably should get driving to Mountain Home or Springfield. 
  • Looking for something to do on Friday or Saturday nights, your options were bowling, seeing a movie, or cruisin' from Sonic to Autozone. Don't get caught going too many times around the Sonic parking lot, though. ;)
  • Or, of course, there were always fun scavenger hunts at Walmart to be had.
  • Finding a homecoming dress in West Plains was like finding a palm tree in the middle of Missouri. But that always led to fun shopping trips in Springfield. 
  • If something big in your life happens before you can even tell your family elsewhere, the whole town knows it.
  • Unless you went to WP Elementary and Middle Schools, you might be a Zizzer, but you'll always also be a Hornet, Flyer, Panther, Rocket, or Mustang first.
  • It's one of the only places I know where there are so many elementary and middle schools but only one high school. 
  • But the best elementary school was St. Mary's Catholic School. That's where the cool kids went, at least for a while. :P
  • In HS, you were either part of the cafeteria eating kids, or the sports complex eating kids. 
  • Every trip to the pharmacy takes at least 30 minutes to catch up with the people working there. 
  • WP hit the big time when it got its own version of a water park, aka the city pool with the slides. :)
  • Visiting Sonic wasn't just a weekly occurrence. It was a daily one. Happy hour, anyone?
  • K Highway is known for a couple things. One of them is the spot where you almost always encounter a deer when you least expect it. 
  • If you wanted to see a doctor who didn't already know you, you better schedule an appointment in a different town.
  • You won't find better rivers to float than around this beautiful area. 
  • The "coffeehouse" was the Downtown Antique Mall, McDonalds, or the Huddle House. That's changed since, though. :)
  • If you've been drinking and are hungry, there's no better food than the Huddle House, especially from those 12am-5am hours.
  • If you want national news, it'll be on the fifth or sixth page of the Quill. The local schools are being featured on the front page. And that's how we prefer it. :)
  • You've experienced your fair share of tornadoes, and your school probably has a tornado shelter or one nearby. Luckily, we've been extremely blessed for the most part, and God willing, that's how it will stay.
  • When there's winter weather, you can count on at least a week or two of school off, even up to a month, because there's at least a few county roads that will still be terrible to drive after the main ones are better. Gotta love that ice. 
  • If you don't golf, hunt, or fish at least some, you might get pretty bored at times.
  • If you needed braces, more than likely, you went to Dr. Dake, and you knew almost everyone whose picture after the braces were off hung around the examination room. 
  • You saw everyone you knew at the softball and baseball games weeknights during the summer, and then you would see them again at the Dairy Queen when the games were over.
  • You look forward to hearing what the Senior Class Prank will be this year. Remember the chickens?
Just writing this, I realize how much this town has already changed, and it's changing more all the time. A lot of these statements are true for people that have been out of high school for 6+ years, but the ones just graduating and recently finished might know a much bigger-feeling town. It's a great place to call home, and it will always be my childhood home. We even hit the "Top Ten Best Small Towns" on Livability.com.

You won't find nicer people than in this gorgeous, small town, and I'm just sad my kids one day won't get the chance to grow up in the amazing place that I did. 

I miss you, WP!



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2 comments:

  1. Of course I love this! I want a billboard for how much I love my town! :) We miss you!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mal! It's a pretty awesome place. :)

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