Saturday, June 26, 2010

In their shoes

We had a brief and pleasant visit with a couple of acquaintances from the great state of Texas today. Eric and Diana joined us for lunch and then took the five-cent tour of Conway before going on with their Arkansas vacation.

It's always a strange experience to welcome folks to the town where you live, when that town is utterly unfamiliar to them. Our little college burg is unknown outside of the state, by and large, so people visiting have no basis for any particular expectation.

We are well aware of the limitations of our town, but we also like living here and rarely get frustrated with what we don't have. It's when we're showing it to friends from out of town that we wonder if our impression is accurate. Does Conway seem impossibly minor -- or quaintly so? Is there more here than you would think, or less?

Right now we're aware of a certain degree of privation since we're down to six movie screens for a population of 75,000 -- and for a week, after the fire marshall closed those down, we were at zero. Yet we also hear of new restaurants and businesses opening constantly, and the city continues to expand its parks and recreation facilities. On the other hand, the town's Fourth of July fireworks have just been cancelled due to a budget snafu in which a couple million dollars in operating funds evaporated overnight (they were committed to a project but had been mistakenly included in the balance of available funds).

So do we live in a charming village or a one-horse town? And who is the best judge -- the resident or the traveler?


Eric Grubbs said...

Thanks again for hosting us and showing us around. I'd have to say Conway is a charming village and definitely not a one-horse town. We enjoyed our time there, even though it was just for a few hours.

the secret knitter said...

Can't say I'd ever heard of Conway before, but I suspect it's like a lot of places in this nation: of a decent size and somewhat self-contained. (Granted, Little Rock is nearby, but you get my point.)

It seems like a nice, comfortable place to live without the hassles of a large city. It may not have all the benefits either, but it hardly seems like some backwater burg. I was surprised how big it is.

But they really should do something about the lack of movie screens. That's a pretty low number for as many people living there and for being a college town.

Donna B. said...

There were 12 before the Cinemark closed to be renovated into an up-to-date stadium-seating 3D-capable affair. I imagine we'll get a net gain of screens out of it, although I don't know how many screens the new multiplex has planned.