I think it goes without saying but at Greenville Forward, we really love Greenville. Maybe its all that green, we’re seeing lately with the arrival of Spring, but we’re feeling especially head over heels these days with our community. All of these warm fuzzy feelings make us feel especially excited for our upcoming Places We Love at Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery. There are a few spots left if you would like to join us as we celebrate the Cafe and its contribution to developing community along the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
We’ve also been inspired to wax poetic about Greenville, after reading about the The Love Letters Project, “an anthology of reflections on American places by the local people that define them.” I’m submitting the following letter to the project about our lovely community and maybe you’ll be inspired to contribute your own.
When I first met you, we weren’t ready for each other. I was a child who was scared by your pastures, big box stores, desolate downtown and Southern accent. But as I got older, I saw past first impressions and fell in love with your kindness and your willingness to let me be me, and show me new sides of myself that I never knew existed. Who knew I liked the mountains and (mostly) year-round warm weather? You did. But I wasn’t ready just yet and neither were you.
We both needed to grow.
You started learning about new cultures and adopting them into the fabric of your landscape. You started to open yourself up to new traditions and intentionally let more people in. I was impressed with your ability to dream of bigger things and realize those dreams. You decided to become more connected and allow people to see more of yourself. You paid special attention to your downtown and built a beautiful pedestrian bridge where cars once traveled. You realized the potential of people meeting face to face, instead of driving by without engaging with each other. And now your towns are growing too with trails and breweries, farmers’ markets and gardens, and your community is growing stronger with every new smile and handshake.
While I was away, I realized your beauty and the opportunity to become a better person through all of the opportunities you offered. Whether I was in big cities or in small rural towns, I began to appreciate my hometown’s ability to take criticism, to learn from the past and to embrace progress. You were so different than the other places, because you weren’t happy being mediocre.
And so we reunited. And I’ve never been happier. This new Greenville gives me plenty of cultural experiences –concerts and plays and opportunities to learn about history and eat great food– but yet still embraces me with its beautiful outdoors and kind words from strangers. It continues to look at how it can be better and be gentler to people.This Greenville has become a mid-sized city that fits me perfectly.
I love you Greenville. Not just because of who you are but because how far you have come and how much you’ve learned in the process. I love how you have grown but never forgotten who you are, and I feel like you expect the same thing from me. I am proud to call you my hometown and I hope that others will see the work you’ve put in to becoming better, not just for me, but for anyone who is lucky enough to know you. I can’t wait to see what the next ten years bring.