Brookhaven offers warm welcome

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, June 7, 2016

As far as first impressions go, Brookhaven has hit a home run.

My family moved here two weeks ago, and in that time I’ve been smiled at and welcomed numerous times.

I didn’t even try to count the number of hugs we received Sunday when we visited Central Baptist. A gentleman on the first pew in front of us promised we’d be loved on there, and he was correct.

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I have to thank Jan and Frankie Thornhill for inviting us to their church. The Thornhills know my husband, Brett, from when he was pastor at Mars Hill in Summit.

Jan’s step-father, Randy Carruth, is the music minister at Central, and he and Brett go way back as well.

The Thornhills were the first to throw out an invite, but they weren’t the only ones. Mr. L. Ralph Smith stopped by my office at The Daily Leader last week and told me I was welcome to visit Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and gifted me with a card printed with the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. He’s given out about a thousand of those, he said.

Miss Violet, my sweet neighbor at The Inez, told me as we chatted outside the laundry room that we could come to her church anytime also.

The Campbells and Miss Violet share a thermostat and a love of jigsaw puzzles. I look forward to sitting with her at the big table in the spacious hallway between our apartments and solving a 5,000-piece mystery.

Another friendly face we’ve seen is our landlord, John Lynch. We were fortunate to find a place to live smack dab in the heart of downtown Brookhaven and Mr. Lynch’s building is architecturally and historically a treasure.

I can’t wait to explore all its nooks and crannies.

I look forward to a get-together with my college roommate, Kerri, and her mom, Laverne Rushing. Miss Laverne lives just outside of Brookhaven, but I think I could talk her into lunch somewhere nearby so we can discuss her daughter’s latest shenanigans.

We’ve been greeted warmly all over this town from Adrienne, the friendliest checker I’ve ever encountered at a Walmart, to Shontaye, the young woman at the Krystal drive-thru.

And I can’t forget the two women at Bob’s Sandwich Shop who explained to us the history of the flat dog, a hot dog with homemade chili that’s flattened on the grill.

Flat dogs, by the way, are meant to be devoured in three bites, with a tad of finger licking to finish it off. And the sweet potato waffle fries are a must. Two flat dogs with onion and mustard, with the salty sweetness of those fries, and I was in heaven on my second day as a Brookhavenite.

I must give kudos to Brookhaven native Tammy Smith, a former co-worker of mine from my Sun Herald days, who told me early on I needed to stop in at Bob’s.

Tammy officially introduced me to her Brookhaven friends through Facebook, saying “Y’all be sweet to her, now, you hear?” and Tammie Santos Brewer responded, offering her assistance if I need anything. I have yet to call on the other Tammie, but I hope to soon. It seems we share another common Facebook friend in Sharon Raines Pepper from my hometown of Hurley. We’ll have to explore that connection one day, preferably at Bob’s. Any excuse, you know?

I’ve enjoyed all the food we’ve tasted here so far, and look forward to sampling a lot more in the months and years to come.

I’ve also enjoyed meeting all the wonderful people who, like me now, call Brookhaven home. I’d be completely remiss, however, if I didn’t mention one little person who I had the pleasure of meeting this past Saturday.

Her name is Aria Collins, and she’s 3 years old. Aria and I crossed paths at the Dr. A.L. Lott Youth Baseball Complex. She saw me taking pictures and was quick to strike an adorable pose in her light blue Brookhaven Barber School T-shirt and baseball glove.

Aria was extremely polite, saying “thank you” and “ma’am.” She recited the first line of Psalm 100 for me and showed me how to draw an A in the air.

I couldn’t stop grinning because Psalm 100 is the first verse I ever memorized. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”

Joyful is a great way to describe Aria and a much better choice than impatient, which I used in my story about the Lott opening ceremony. Aria was eager to get on the field and use her new glove, but she was well mannered and waited quietly as the officials spoke.

Aria and I are a lot alike.

We’re joyful and eager.

I’m joyful at the chance to live, work and worship here in Brookhaven, and I’m eager to see and do everything this city and Lincoln County has to offer.

I look forward to meeting new people. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and I’m excited to hear them.


Donna Campbell is the managing editor of The Daily Leader.