I’ve been in Cullman a little over three months now, and people often ask me what I think of Cullman. I thought I’d share what I’ve observed as an outsider in Cullman.
First, whenever anyone asks me about Cullman, my first reaction is always, “They are the kindest people you’ll ever meet.” Overwhelmingly, people have been incredibly kind. Even when telling me something they don’t like about the paper, people have done so in the nicest ways possible.
In every single store I’ve walked into, at every event I’ve been to, someone will strike up a conversation like we’re old friends. I may not be from here, but no one treats me like a stranger. As the person who usually initiates random conversations with people I don’t know, it’s refreshing to be on the receiving end of that. It’s like I’ve found my people. My daughter, Lauren, rolls her eyes every time I talk to people in stores; I can’t wait for her to visit and see everyone doing it.
But here, strangers aren’t strangers for long. I was excited to go to an event recently and realize I recognized people. To me, that’s the joy of living in a smaller community: you really are surrounded by people you know pretty much all the time.
I’m still learning the family connections, the history of who is related to whom and all that. One thing I’ve found interesting is the number of people who have worked at The Cullman Times or had a family member who did. I love hearing about their experiences and what used to be where within the building.
Sometimes, people will mention things to me as if I’ve been here longer than I have. For example, they’ll say, “like we did it last year,” or “you know, where the such-and-such was?” And I don’t know. Everyone has been generous, though, when I ask questions that probably seem dumb to them. It’s also a bit thrilling when someone gives me directions and I actually know the area they’re describing. It’s like I’m slowly but surely solving a puzzle, putting the pieces together.
I’ve also observed that people here are proud and protective of Cullman. There is recognition that this is a special place.
The other, overwhelming conclusion I’ve come to about the general nature of Cullman is that it’s an extremely generous community. Week after week, we’ve written about fundraisers to help students, veterans, the elderly and children in general. And week after week, people give and give generously.
I’m enjoying getting to know this county and its people. Thank you for letting us tell your stories, and for everyone who has called or emailed to tell us something we should be covering, a big thank you! The best part of this job is getting to meet people and share their stories. Please keep calling and emailing, and I look forward to getting to know more of you and Cullman County.