It’s no secret that I’m a rural girl, having grown up in a village of about 500 folks in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio. Kirkersville was a one-stoplight town. At the time of my upbringing it had two bars and three churches, a carry out, an ice cream joint, a funeral parlor, a fire station, an elementary school and an Exxon station about a mile outside of town that eventually got flattened by a tornado. Oh, and corn fields as far as the eye could see.
As a small girl my favorite ways to pass the time were as follows: popping the tar bubbles in the asphalt on a hot summer day; playing down at the creek; hiking back to the old quarry; riding my banana-seated Huffy on an endless loop around town; batting tennis balls against the wall of the elementary school; finding a way to climb onto the top of the school building to retrieve my tennis balls; and getting lost in a corn field. I was alone most of the time and I had no issues with finding ways to entertain myself. And I can’t even say that times were “different” then – that it was completely safe to wander such a small neighborhood in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t. You see, Central Ohio was terrorized by a couple of brothers known as “The .22-caliber Killers” and one of ’em lived in my neighborhood. I played in that house once in a while. And this was at the height of their reign. I had no way of knowing – no one did. It’s frightening to think that we really don’t “know” each other. Despite our best efforts we, unfortunately, find ourselves in the midst of bad people on occasion.
On the flip-side, Kirkersville is also the home of Southwest Licking Local’s own Antsy McClain. This name embodies an incredible persona that has made a success of himself celebrating our small-town, trailer-park loving type of Americana. He’s an amazing singer/songwriter/humorist and I think he more than cancels out the negativity that The .22 Caliber Killer brought. You MUST visit his website at http://www.unhitched.com. He’s quite a talented feller and I’m proud to say “I knew him when…”. In fact, I might commission K-ville to make a new sign to post at the edge of the corn field before you enter town that states: Welcome to Kirkersville. Home of the .22 Caliber Killer BUT cancelled out by Antsy McClain. Maybe someday my name can be added to the sign, too. Not as a National Best-selling author, mind you, but as the girl who raised money to get all the tennis balls off the roof of Kirkersville Elementary.
You might not think that a small village like Kirkersville has the capacity to generate TWO awesome people AND an infamous murderer, but our neighboring town of Pataskala was able to churn out one John Holmes, so I do believe there’s something “special” about our neck of the woods.
Maybe it’s the corn.
Thank you, Lynn George, for supplying “CORN” as the word of the day. Lynn has been a long-term supporter of my son, Ben, via facebook. She’s one of my favorite “online” friends. 🙂 Lynn has a blog at butyoucancallmecrazy.blogspot.com, which features amazingly yummy recipes that I couldn’t even begin to duplicate (not because she’s complicated but because I’m not that talented). Thanks, Lynn! You’re awesome.