Saturday, December 15, 2018

College Town At Christmas, 2018: Looking Back At My 30 Years Of Living In Bowling Green, Ky.

    I remember years ago when I first moved to Kentucky in 1987, I used to get homesick for down South.  I missed my native city of Memphis, Tenn., and North Mississippi, the place where I spent my teenage years.  I used to miss my friends and family also.
    It's also where graduated from high school and went to college.  I was a Southern Boy and I am still am.  But things have changed tremendously back home.  To be honest, I can't keep up with it hardly anymore.  It's all becoming a blur now it seems.  Our memories do seem to slip as we get older they say.
Patty and I before a Christmas party in 1992
However, by fate, I met a lady through the Roman Catholic Church in Oxford, Miss., while I was college student at the time at the University of Mississippi, (Ole Miss) in the 80's. And then after we where married and our son was born, we eventually ended up in Bowling Green, Ky., home of Western Kentucky University.  WKU is where my wife went to college back in the 70's when she lived in her hometown of Russellville, Ky., which is 30 miles west of Bowling Green.  She said she had always loved Bowling Green and thought it would be a nice to live one day and to raise a family.  And indeed, Bowling Green or "BG" as it is affectionally known to us and its loyal citizens, has a been a great place for us to live, work and raise our son for these last 30 years.  Our son, Galen Jr. or "Tony" as he affectionally known to us and all of his family and friends, is a graduate of WKU and now lives and works in Nashville, which is 60 miles south of Bowling Green.
Our little family, 1988. Patty, Tony, Santa and me.
During this Christmas season, I have been reflecting a lot on my life and my life of living in Bowling Green all these years.  No, I have not made a big impact on the city by running for political office and serving as a leader making important decisions that ultimately effect its citizens or businesses in one form or fashion.  Nor have I been a major player in the Bowling Green business community making tons of money by managing a factory, a store or being a private business owner along with being a member of the local chamber of commerce.  Nor I have I been a professional such as a doctor, lawyer, a counselor and priest or a pastor by having a direct impact on its citizens and families on a personal level.  However, I have been a productive citizen, a homeowner and a taxpayer and staying out of trouble for the most part all these last 30 years of living here.  Yeah, I have ruffled a few feathers here and there regarding some of my strong letters to the editor in our local newspaper or stating my assertive opinions on the local morning AM talk radio program in the past.  But for the most part, I've had a good run in Bowling Green and I hope to have another 30 years! Being a writer, an observer of life and a sales and service professional all these years, I have met many fine people in this city and from the surrounding towns and counties alike.  Like everywhere else in the world, there's a story on every corner in Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky. I have found this to be extremely true.  And I don't have to look very far either.  There's a lot of interesting people who live here. I have always been like a sponge through the years, absorbing everything I can about its people, its places and its culture.  It's only natural for me to be curious and to ask questions regarding people and their lives. And it's also the way that I was trained in journalism school while I was at Ole Miss.  Basically,  to ask questions and write stories along with taking pictures. ( I like making short videos these days too).
Me, Jude, our Australian Shepherd, and Patty with Santa in 2016
    So as I reflect back on my past Christmases of living here, BG has been very good to me and my little family.  For the most part, it is a safe place to live because we have an excellent police force as well as a great county sheriff's department and a wonderful Kentucky State Police force.  Also, the WKU police force is great too. Although, we are not natives to this town, BG has been accepting of us and thousands of others who come from all over the United States and from around the world.  We have a large Bosnian community and a growing Burmese and Congo African community too.  And like most places in the South, we have a large Hispanic community too.  WKU brings in students from all over Kentucky, the South, and other parts of the US.  And the university has its fair share of international students too.  So I feel very fortunate and blessed to live in Bowling Green.  God has been good to me all these years and I have received many special blessings by living here.  We have a wonderful church which is Holy Spirit Catholic Church and I have fairly good health, a good job, a good home, a good neighborhood and most importantly, a wonderful wife and son.  So if you live in Bowling Green, be thankful this Christmas season and for what this city does for us, its citizens.  We have good streets and roads and excellent schools.  We also have a good medical community too. 
      Mainly, we are a very blessed community especially during Christmastime.  Go outside and feel the Christmas spirit in the air.  And drive downtown, and see the Christmas lights on the square or eat at one our many fine restaurants.  Eat, drink and be merry! Be cheerful and jolly also! (But don't drink and drive. Get a Uber. Or the BGPD will get you!)  Yes, we are very blessed this Christmas season in Bowling Green and I thank God for that.  Merry Christmas and God Bless!