The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Best Small Town in the South is a deserving title for this charming conglomeration of people

Ivy Rose Ball
The people are what make Starkville the Best Small Town.

Starkville was recently named Best Small Town in the South by USA Today. In the aftermath, I heard many say that they were shocked to hear this, but I feel this quaint town is deserving of the title.

As Starkville is a college town, I often spend my time here feeling a sense of oncoming doom. Sometimes I wonder if the calm before the storm can exist in a world where the storm never comes, and I feel it can. My favorite calm is that of every Tuesday night, in between work and the near-ritualistic meetup of friends every week at The Fountain Bar to partake in what used to be colloquially known as 3-4-1’s.

Personally, I have never gone for the drinks, but rather for those that regularly and irregularly make appearances there.

Behind the bar, Cheyenne tries to guess my drink of the week, oftentimes figuring out what I want before I do. Lorali and Jill appear with kind greetings and corny jokes. Jill is sometimes noticeably taller than usual, and I always fail to pretend I do not notice.

Corey and Nick come in outfits that almost seem to compete. Nick always seeming to be dressed just a tad nicer than you would expect him to, with Wallabee shoes and a pair of nice jeans, unless he wants to show off his dragon tattoo on the back of his calf.

I notice the shoes Corey wears, often New Balances, and how the subtle color on them matches his shirt or hat. Soon, the crew from College View comes out to join us. Gabi talks about the show she is in with Theatre MSU, Hannah comes dressed just as you would expect the head of a fashion magazine to and Maggie arrives with a laugh that remains infinitely recognizable.

Throughout the night, more and more friends come and go. Laughs are shared and responsibilities are forgotten — or rather ignored — for a few hours with people we all care about.

Throughout nights such as this, I wonder how anyone can see Starkville as anything other than remarkable, like those who say we do not deserve this title never stopped to look around it.

I feel as if they never made the walk to a friend’s apartment on a Saturday — maybe to grab a bite to eat or just to get some steps in. Maybe they never enjoyed the artwork on the shirts hanging inside Scooter’s Records in the famous Cotton District. Even if they did, I wonder if they knew it was a student that created many of the designs.

Ethan Seaney

Maybe they never split a pizza with friends at Bin 612 while a daytime playlist boomed through the speakers or grabbed some mouthwatering barbecue from The Little Dooey.

Maybe they never heard someone playing music in the district on a Sunday. Maybe their eyes never filled with water as they walked through clouds of smoke coming from a grill in Dudy Noble Field.

Those that disagreed probably never had brunch at Arepas with their closest friends or rang along with 60,000 others when Christopher Walken needed more cowbell.

No, maybe not. Perhaps they are upset at our lack of a Raising Canes, our overabundance of Mexican restaurants and numerous Starbucks locations, or that we lack a few stores they would like.

I feel it is easy to think that Starkville did not deserve Best Small Town in the South. I too have spent time complaining about the issues of this little community. But, when taking a second to look around, I find it hard not to love this place.

From seeing new bands have their first show one month to playing on the local stage of Old Main Music Festival the next, to talking to the artists participating in the Cotton District Arts Festival, to the multitude of vendors at Bulldog Bash, there is so much here to love.

Sure, one could argue Starkville has some problems, but a town is nothing without the people that inhabit it. Starkville has an abundance of passion and love, and it is not difficult to find.

It is there in the friends we meet, the ones that go from strangers to best friends in just one day. It is there in the comments that uplift us in the subtlest of ways, almost seeming calculated, and it is there in the genuine interest each person here has for those around them.

Starkville is special. I am glad I came to see that. The sunsets here are beautiful, and they do not even begin to melt the tip of the iceberg that holds my reasoning as to why Starkville is fully deserving of being named Best Small Town in the South.

About the Contributor
John Baladi
John Baladi, Life & Entertainment Editor
John Baladi is a senior business administration major. He currently serves as the Life & Entertainment Editor. [email protected]
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