This article comes from an entry in my personal journal that I wrote almost twenty years ago when I was a newcomer to Navasota. Not much has changed here, thank goodness!
What makes a city great is its people. This is a rather obvious statement by itself, but I found this to be very true just recently, and on a very personal level. This all started with a conversation with the local pharmacist.
I was dealing with a minor illness and after visiting with the pharmacist, he recommended that I see a doctor to treat my condition correctly. Although it was after 5:30 on a Friday afternoon and my expectations were pretty low that I would get any relief from my symptoms, I went to the medical center anyway. What I found was an empty parking lot. I went up to the door anyway and, to my surprise, they were still open, but I was told that they would not be open for very much longer. Also, there were not any doctors on duty at this particular time. I thought to myself, “Well isn’t this just great. My wife and I are brand new here in town, I feel really sickly, and now I have to go home and suffer on my own until Monday.”
But then the small-town charm of Navasota started to shine on me. A nurse called the one doctor who was on call at the hospital and he was able to drop what he was doing and see me — and within ten minutes! I was treated, released, and handed a prescription, but by this time it was very near closing time at the pharmacy. I dashed over there, and I was able to get in just before they turned the lights off. I was delighted to get my much-needed medicine so I could start to get well.
This entire scene played out in just under an hour, but the story doesn’t stop there. The next day, the doctor who dropped what he was doing at the hospital and who took such great care of me, called me at home to see how I was doing. I was more than impressed, stunned actually that he would actually reach out and call me like that. It probably wasn’t a big deal for him, but that made a real impression on me.
I grew up in a small town in Northeast Louisiana, but prior to moving to Navasota I had lived in Houston, Odessa, and Atascocita, not to mention a few Army posts. To say the least, the pace is much faster there, and it would have been very unusual for anyone in any of those areas to be so kind to a stranger.
Now, after living in Navasota for a while, I try to put myself in the place of that pharmacist, or that doctor, or nurse and I look for opportunities to reach out to my neighbors. And we are all neighbors. (See, Pastor Matt — I was listening!)
What I find most comforting as a citizen of Navasota are the simple acts of kindness that seem to float around us and settle in on us like a warm comfy blanket. That — and among many other things that I don’t have space to mention - makes our town a wonderful place for me and my wife to call home. This might sound cliche, but I think it’s not the size of a city that makes it great - it’s the people in it and the size of their hearts.
Alan Shoalmire is a resident in Grimes County and the owner of Grill Sergeant Hotdogs and submits a column to the Navasota Examiner every other week.