Today I continued my photographic tours of Southern Illinois. Some to the little towns such as Royalton…I have not driven through in years…while most of them I have failed to pay close attention to the antique and vintage architecture that they contain. I have noticed that over the past ten years or more we have had a proliferation of Dollar General Stores spring up in every town and village and hamlet. I went to the Dollar General in Royalton and was pleasantly surprised to be reminded of my old memories of the Ben Franklins Dime Store in Eldorado…well over 50 years ago. A gentleman was walking from far down the street and as I proceeded to the Dollar General he followed me inside. When I checked out with my three possessions…he smiled and I thought that he looked somewhat familiar…from so many years ago.
During the early 70s, Royalton had a police officer that was notorious for giving speeding tickets. It was an urban legend that if you were very nice to him and called him sir and stayed humble…he would let you off with a lecture…but if you defended yourself or were a bit cock-sure…he would issue you the maximum fine. The speed limit in Royalton in those ancient days was 20 miles per hour and one late night I was stopped for 23 mph. I was humble and took my lecture and he told me to watch my speed in the future. My buddy, Steve, was stopped a few nights later for just a few miles over the speed limit and he attempted to defend his speed…and he paid a hefty fine…
Carterville is my neighbor. It is a highly thought of town with a lot of entrepreneurship and activity. It is my understanding that Carterville has great schools and they certainly honor their sports teams by placing the individual member of the teams’ names on large placards along the roads entering the bustling town.
Little Egypt is full of proud and humble people. Treating each other fair and like you want to be treated is a lifelong creed in our neck of the woods. Church and hard work and dedication to God and Country are admirable and worthy goals…remembering those members of your town who gave the ultimate sacrifice…are memorialized in every hamlet…no matter how poor.
I was taken aback again today when I spoke to a lady in the Dollar Store and she was so kind and somewhat apologetic and humble. I realized that in small towns of Southern Illinois…I may not be recognized by the locals as they often interact with the members of their own communities…but to feel like a visitor to the area that I was raised in…is a bit disconcerting.