No Two Alike

Wrapping up simulator training in Dallas, I zipped down I-20 Eastbound
hoping to escape the city before rush hour. The bumper-to-bumper crush
wound through miles and miles of subdivisions where gigantic new homes
squeezed together on treeless lots right up against the eight-lane highway.
Colorful signs and flapping flags at the entrance of each carbon copy street
advertised, “Houses from the $400’s”.
Even more striking than the density and scope of the sprawl was how
nearly identical each house was constructed. Row after row of stamped
copies with rooflines, materials, and even color schemes exactly alike made
me wonder how, other than the numbers on the matching mailboxes, a
homeowner could even tell which one was his. Individuality is sometimes a
casualty of progress, I guess.

Jogging around Laurel the next morning, I smiled at how different things
are here where no two homes or yards are alike and personality flourishes
among the messy live oaks and bumpy streets. That’s usually a good thing,
and sometimes it’s just a thing, but it’s always interesting.
There’s no anonymity in a small town. People notice when you move in,
buy a new truck, or got toilet papered after Homecoming. This life is
obviously not for everyone, or they’d all move here. But there’s something
endearing enough that people travel from big cities hundreds of miles away
to spend a day in this place where the traffic is light enough for golf carts
and people take time to visit.


And whether they’re saying, “Oh, I love that cute little house!” or, “I’m
not sure what they were thinking,” they’re affected by places that are
charming because they’re unassuming and fun just because they’re friendly.
So the next time you roll your eyes at your neighbor’s new ______ (fill in
the blank, bless their hearts), be grateful to live somewhere small enough
that you actually noticed.

Col. Craig Ziemba, USAF, ret. 
Craig has served eight combat deployments 
and is a pilot who lives in Laurel.
view more of his journal posts
his book 37 Near Death Experiences now available