At least once a week – and for whatever reason, it’s happening more frequently these days – someone will ask me, “Why Georgetown?”
As in, “What is it about that place that keeps you there?”
As if to say that greener pastures exist for me somewhere down the road, on the other side of the fence, where the grass, if not the entire pasture, is certainly a deeper shade of green.
And you know, I’m not sure there’s an easy answer for that one, at least not one that can be explained with words on a page, even for someone like me who loves to share his thoughts in print. No, Georgetown is more of a feeling, just a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself.
If you’ve lived here for a few years, you know exactly what I mean.
If you’re new to the area, wait for it.
It’s worth it.
Believe me, it’s worth it.
I moved here in 1999, fresh out of college, ready to tackle the world one article at a time with the News-Graphic. I thought I’d be at the job a year, two at the most.
I stayed eight years.
Even now, almost 18 months after leaving the newspaper, here I am, still in Georgetown (even having bought a house to further deepen my roots), still writing occasionally for the paper.
I could have left, I guess. Job opportunities came up from time to time, but each time, I somehow convinced myself not to go. The first realistic chance I had to leave involved moving to Georgia, which would have put me living more than an hour away from my hometown for the first time in my life. I had new nephews along with a few wrinkles, literally and figuratively, in my parents’ lives, all of which kept me wanting to say in Kentucky. Ultimately, I was just too scared to go anywhere, lacking the courage (and confidence) to branch out and forge a life on my own.
So I stayed.
Time passed, and another job came calling, this time to a larger paper in a more metropolitan part of the country. I had finally gotten accustomed to being the editor of a newspaper, something I never thought I’d say after Mike Scogin promoted me nine months after starting with the News-Graphic. I seemed to know what I was doing, and if I didn’t, I could at least pretend and fool people.
With a new job, though, the confidence (or the appearance of it) would evaporate, leaving me with nothing to do but start over, something that just didn’t sound appealing. Not only was I chicken, but I also questioned my ability to learn it all again, both in terms of the rhythms of covering a new town, but the job itself. I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person, but I doubted my own brain power in making a move.
So I stayed.
More time passed, and job offers came and went, as did my marriage and, eventually, another meaningful relationship. I had a full heart, a broken heart, a thousand different hearts.
So I stayed.
I stayed to be close. I stayed to get away.
I stayed in Georgetown because I was scared, stupid and sad.
But here it is, May 2008, and I’m still here.
And I’m no longer any of those things, at least not on a regular basis.
I have courage.
I have a brain.
I have a heart.
So maybe it’s something else.
And I guess it really is.
Because it is Georgetown.
And there’s no place like home.
Kevin Hall writes a monthly column for Georgetown Community Theatre, who will be performing “The Wizard of Oz” at 7:30 p.m. July 18-19 and 2:30 p.m. July 20 at Scott County High School. He (Kevin, not the aforementioned wizard) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.