Have you ever tried a cup of coffee from the small cafe in St. Mary’ followed by walking right into a small town soap-box derby, complete with kids riding down ramps hitting each other’s helmets with soft, foam bats while parents look on and a local priest tells jokes to some of the older members of the crowd?
This is just one of the many situations that I have found myself in, mind you, after jumping into my car and just driving out to a small town and wandering around.
This is also the way I was able to experience a growing police standoff in Rossville, followed by eating some delicious Silver Lake beef at a Chinese restaurant that is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.
Just how did I find myself in these predicaments, or rather, on these adventures? Simple. I avoid the natural urge to head home for the weekend.
While sitting in my classes, I overhear several conversations, most of which deal with what my fellow collegians did last weekend or what they plan on doing this weekend.
A large portion of these plans deal with going home, to either Manhattan or Lawrence or any other large city nearby, and eating homemade food or to take care of dirty laundry.
But is this really what college students should be doing? Isn’t this simply following in the footsteps of what we did in high school? It seems like the only difference is that we return to our hometowns with our teeth stained by pizza and ramen noodles.
As college students we should be exploring what the world around us offers. By going out and doing whatever comes to us, we are stepping outside of our comfort zones and breaking that homebound habit.
We could be sipping coffee in a small cafe in Eskridge, killing time before dinner at the barbecue restaurant in town. This could of course be followed by any number of random activities that spring up.
We should be out involving ourselves in city-wide garage sales, finding that perfect lamp that is shaped like a dog, or finding an extremely old Polaroid photo album.
We should be out finding small antique shops and purchasing green ladders, followed by free wine tastings at the local winery that just so happens to have a winemaker that knows quite a lot about his subject.
Could you experience any of these adventures by simply going on the same highway back home to visit your family for two days?
Go out and find a new coffee shop in a deserted corner of a semi-hidden town, and be sure to find as many instances as possible for free or cheap food.
Two weeks ago, Americus celebrated their Americus Days, and they offered free hot dogs. Did you hear me? Free!
Go forth and acquire amazing stories about our neighboring towns. They have so much to offer.