Uptown Girl?

I lived in Charlotte for eight years. Various parts, from Matthews to Providence/Sardis to Sedgefield (near Dilworth). I liked that there seemed to be hub-bub everywhere. Interesting people. Restaurants of every nation, tribe, and tongue. Stores filled with whatever I might want. And friends. Friends who lived 8 miles away, and yet it took 40 minutes to get to their houses.
So I met a boy (re-met, but that sounds weird), and he owned a house in Rock Hill. Rock Hill! I went to school there for four years, but never considered it home. Charlotte was home. Newnan, GA, was home. Rock Hill was a pass-through. Full of small-town politics...you know people who considered themselves VERY important, but outside of the city limits, no one really cared or knew who they were?
Rock Hill. An Applebee's, a Cracker Barrel, a few McDonald's, and a college. Big softball park. Four bazillion dollar statues declaring it as the "Gateway...to somewhere...or from somewhere." I never got the full story on that. A charming downtown district with old buildings and few tenants.
A far cry from my bright lights and big city.
Now, Rock Hill probably isn't technically a SMALL town. Last I heard, we were the 4th largest municipality in South Carolina...behind Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 70,000 folk. But it still has that stink, er, charm.
All of this set up to say...I like it here. I do. I like to think to think of myself as a big city girl. I don't like to concede to the notion of suburbs. But here I am.
When I most like Rock Hill is days like Thursday. I had a series of errands to run for my job. I was in and out of several very local establishments. I exchanged actual pleasantries and genuine conversation with people who know my name because I do business with them. It seems very "Leave it to Beaver" or something, but I admit...it's nice. It's nice to get to know people, even the self-important people, who have family and stories and businesses. I could go a week in Charlotte without anyone outside of my church calling me by name. The store clerks gloss over you there...especially in certain parts of town (SouthPark, anyone?) if you're not dressed just so or driving around in a fancy car.
So, I'm only 25 minutes from downtown Charlotte, but I almost feel like a have a great secret. The place we called "The Thrill" while in school. I can get to a friend's house in five minutes. I can get to Target in 8, work in 8 and downtown Rock Hill in about 10. We're not bustling. But life is good here. I have a sweetie. A cute little house. Nice neighbors who borrow the occasional cup of sugar and who rescue us when we need a teaspoon of baking powder halfway through the cookie recipe. It's the Hill, people. It's the Hill.

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