• Dana L. Butler

How Lawson, Missouri Touched My Heart

Our sweet roomie (or would house mate be the appropriate term?), Jerusha, grew up in small town Missouri, about 45 minutes to the northeast of Kansas City…and she can’t seem to pull herself away from the “mom and pop” type cafe where she’s waited tables for the last 3 years, even though it’s a 45 minute commute both ways for her each day, Monday – Thursday.

Last week she was without a car for a couple of days, giving Isaac and me the excuse to drive up and observe her in her “natural habitat:” the small town of Lawson, MO.  

The drive between KC and Lawson is beautiful… and leaves you with no question as to the fact that you are definitely in what we city girls would call “the boonies.”  That’s the technical terminology.

But oh, how this place grabbed my heart.

I happened to step foot in Lawson on Friday, September 28th, which I quickly observed was a HUGELY important day around there: HOMECOMING.  Yup.  I felt like I’d stepped into a cross between Mayberry and Remember the Titans… This is Small Town, USA where time moves a little more slowly, and life and business and work schedules revolve around what’s happening with the Lawson High School Fighting Cardinals. I’m serious here, folks: high school football is what it’s all about.  I happened to be wearing a red shirt that morning.  Little did I know how well I’d fit in!  “We Are Lawson!” was written all over the place, and there were red t-shirts everywhere I turned.

Isaac and I sat in Catrick’s Cafe, owned and run by Cathy and Rick Holcomb (The name of the cafe is a combination of both of their names), and watched Jerusha serve and clear tables while we ate our massively huge and yummy pancakes.  And my eye was caught by this one particular table of ladies who seemed to be genuinely enjoying each other.  Jerusha told me they’re bus drivers who eat together regularly at Catrick’s.  (And who can blame them? It’s really good, down-home comfort food that reminds me of my grandma’s cookin’.)

I asked Jerusha if she thought they’d mind if I took their picture for this article.  She said they’d love it… so… I approached them, explained how I was intrigued by this whole small-town-homecoming-weekend thing and the community here, and how in the world did I end up wearing this red shirt today and fitting in so well?  Their facial expressions went from conveying obvious confusion as to who I was and why I was talking to them, to being lit with grins as I explained how I loved their little town and I’m a blogger and I wanted to write an article about it…. and did they mind being in a picture?

“This is the best town you’ll ever find.  You should move here,” one of them said with a smile.  “Are you gonna stick around for the homecoming parade this afternoon?”

I loved that about Lawson.  The small-town, everybody-knows-everybody, tractor-driving-through-down-town (the one picture my hands were too full to snap), old-folks-greeting-each-other-on-the-street COMMUNITY.  The type of community where relationships span decades and generations and yet new people are welcomed in with a smile….

And I don’t know if I can fully explain all the reasons why this whole small town, friendly, down-to-earth, high-school-football-loving atmosphere grabbed my heart so much… I just know that there’s something really authentic and honest and refreshing about it… though I’m sure Lawson has its imperfections too, just like we all do…. And that it touched this desire in my heart to be a part of something similar… kind of like watching the Andy Griffith Show did to me when I was a kid.  You just love those people and those places and that atmosphere and the slower pace at which life is lived and you want to be a part of it somehow.  At least I did.  So I couldn’t resist writing about it.

And personally… I know I ALSO won’t be able to resist making the 45-minute trek to Lawson again in the not-too-distant future.  Even though I can’t live there, spending a few hours there is like a breath of fresh air.

Do you enjoy escaping to small towns every now and then?  What about them grabs your heart?  If you live in a small town, what do you love about it? 

Be blessed today to find refreshing and new life and perspective in the Father…

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