TOP TEN REASONS WHY I LOVE HICKMAN COUNTY
By Antonia Meadors
My Daddy was a preacher so we had the opportunity to live in several communities while I was growing up, mostly small rural towns. My Daddy was also a bit of a maverick, so everywhere he lived or worked, he tore up ground to plant vegetables and flowers. He was the kind of man who thought it was easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, so one time we had goats living in our yard, and when I was in elementary school my horse, Maude, grazed in a vacant lot next to the parsonage, right there in the middle of town. I remember the neighbor lady often calling up to complain the goats were in her flower beds. They were milk goats and he thought when he filled the store-bought milk cartons with their rich milk, we kids would never know the difference! But this is not about my Daddy, although I could write a book about his antics; this is about why I love Hickman County.
When I was five years old, we got to live on a sheep farm by Beaver Creek, not far from the trout farm, and that’s when my life-long love affair with the woods and the creeks began. After being gone for thirty years, I couldn’t wait to get back to the woods, and my dream was to live by the babbling brook. That’s one reason why I chose to return to Hickman County in the late 1990s with my three Hawaiian children in tow, to settle down. But there is a more important reason, and that is the people who live here.
My mother and I have a theory, which would be hard to test. We believe that Hickman County has more sweet people per capita than any other town in the world. She and my brother, Mike, also chose to return to Hickman County after living in Hawaii for many years. (Hawaiians are also very kind and sweet people, and that’s why it is called the Aloha State). John Michael chose Centerville, for good reasons, and one of them was because it always felt like Home.
Mike was in middle school when we lived here in the late 1960s, and he is very special. We didn’t really have classes for developmentally delayed students then (at least that’s how I remember it), we had what is now called “inclusion”, where all students were pretty much treated the same, and not separated from regular classes. He got to wear a uniform and play symbols in the marching band. He got to sing solo in the church on Sunday nights. He also got to be on the basketball team, and the coach often put Mike in the game for the last few minutes. What is so crazy special is that not only were our fans screaming for Mike to shoot the ball, the other side would take up the chant too!
When they returned here in the late 1980s, Mike was allowed to serve as “assistant” to the girls’ high school basketball team, and so lots of people remember him on the sidelines, having an important role. This role was created purely out of kindness. One night he was asked to sing the National Anthem at an opening game and when he forgot the words, the whole crowd started singing with him to help him finish the song. (Not a dry eye in the house that night.) That alone proves our theory that Hickman County has the greatest number of sweet people per capita in the world, and that would be the number one reason why I love Hickman County
1. More sweet people per capita than any town in the world. Kindness abounds in Hickman County. I am happy to meet so many “newcomers”, people who are choosing to relocate and settle here. They are such an asset to our community and very kind people. A recent quote I heard, is one that fits them well: “We ain’t Southern, but we got here as fast as we could.”
2. Generous, giving people, who don’t even have to be asked. They see a need, they do what they can to fill that need, or find somebody who will. A yard gets mowed, a tree gets cut up for firewood, a bag of groceries gets delivered. A casserole is sent over when someone in the family is sick. And then there’s the squash…..
3. Fresh cool spring water coming out of the ground all over the county. We have more springs than just about anywhere in the nation. Some of them are dubbed “Sweet Water” and if you’ve ever tasted it, you know what I’m talking about.
4. Trees trees trees everywhere. Hickman County is 80% forest. Hardwoods, evergreens, fruits, nuts, and the most beautiful flowering trees, Dogwood and Redbud, along with the Tennessee state tree, the Tulip Poplar. Call me a tree hugger, and you’d be right.
5. History and the honoring of it, and the wonderful stories of remembrance.
6. Church suppers.
7. The Duck River, the most bio-diverse river in North America. No wonder, the way it bends every five minutes that it’s the longest river within any state borders. It delivers us more plants and wildlife than anywhere else in the country, along with rich soil.
8. Wild flowers. Hickman County has more species of wild flowers than anywhere else in the country…maybe it’s the water.
9. Music. There’s hardly a family who doesn’t sing, play or tap their feet every chance we get.
10. Opportunity to live simply, on the land, and an opportunity to feel a part of and to give back to your community.
Antonia Meadors is one of the three Arts & Ag collaborators and she is the proprietor of Wild Duck Soup Emporium on the Centerville Square – a store that features whole foods (no GMO’s), unique artwork, various gifts, hot coffee, live music, and often a dose of serendipity where the “Duck Soup” is always fresh out! Make yourself a friend on her Facebook page to stay updated on the latest happenings here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wild-Duck-Soup-Emporium/179919922072191?ref=hl