Dallas, GA

"You don't have to be lonely"

New friends coming back from church. (Credit: Andreanetti Jones Marshall)

Have you ever wanted to live in a place where you were guaranteed to be able to meet people and have a conversation every time you go out of your house? I can guarantee you’ll never just run to the store and get right back because there is always someone who will start a conversation and talk your head off for an hour! I moved here knowing no one and had no family here. When I start feeling lonely I simply go to “town” and start talking to folks. I’ve met the nicest people who open up, invite me to their homes, churches and events.

Stories About Dallas

Just the other day, I went to the local grocery store. I’d been promising my husband home-made ice cream since we moved here. The store had an ice cream maker on sale. I put one in my cart and proceeded with my shopping.

“Ma’am, oh ma’am,” I heard a voice calling.

I turned to see a grey-bearded man walking toward me and wondered what could he possibly want with me?

He started,” I have three ice cream makers.”

My immediate thought was, “He’s going to try to sell me one of “em!” But then he launched into telling me how to make the best chocolate ice cream in the world. Twenty minutes later, I had the recipe, plenty others, and his name, Dave. He left to join his wife who was somewhere in the store.

Fifteen minutes later I hear “ma’am, oh ma’am” again. I turn and it’s Dave again but with his wife Pat. He starts to rattle off the ingredients for this special ice cream again. Pat interrupts and says he left out the sugar and the type of cream to use. We laugh and talk about making Friendship Bread, using goat’s milk for ice cream, growing blueberries. I quickly bring my missing twin into the conversation, because she has since moved here and has a U-Pick blueberry farm and goats. Two weeks later my sister and I are visiting Dave and Pat who are giving away blueberry plants to my sister!

I could tell you about the guy I met at the local UPS store who took an hour to explain how he was in such muscular shape at the age of fifty. Or the guy who extolled the virtues of his teacher wife at the local hardware store. Again for an hour. Or the church deacon who extolled his work, invited me to his church, and was so excited when I came that he had me stand up and talk to the congregation. I made a bunch of friends there. Or the motorcycle gang who ride for Christ who talked with my husband and I about their ride for a little boy who died. They raised money for the family. We prayed in public for the family and the little boy. Or the high school students I’ve met as a substitute teacher who have shared their skills and lives with me. Their art hangs in my home. Their stories reverberate in my mind. They are good and wholesome. I could tell you but you should come and see for yourself.

I am African-American. Not all but most folks in this story are white. And this is the new south. Not all but a lot of people here are concerned about their neighbors no matter who they are.