March 8, 2017 – Joshua Harlow, Senior Vice President
Many of my friends from college and now the professional world always snicker (or make fun of me) when I tell them I am literally from the “Home of Sliced Bread.” However, it is true; I am originally from Chillicothe, Missouri, the rightful owner of that claim. I use this to my full advantage when arguing facts or trying to make my point, such as, “What do you know, let’s go with my approach, you know, I am from the Home of Sliced Bread!” - - I am sure my co-workers love it when I make that proclamation.
Many of us who grew up in small towns sometimes try to shy away, because no one knows the town, or by the simple fact, it is easier to say you are from the closest city. Growing up, I was guilty of this many times, but it never felt right to say I was from somewhere else, it still doesn’t. Today, I proudly say I am from Chillicothe, of course with the following line; “The Home of Sliced Bread” and here are two big lessons I learned from growing up in a small-town.
1. “Where everybody knows your name” – Yes, that might be a famous phrase from the Cheers theme song, but it is especially true when you grow-up in a small-town. I think that sense of tightness, coupled with the fear that if you do something wrong, your parents will know, creates an interesting dynamic. I might have been guilty of having a few parties in my day (one was even complete with a four slip-and-slides duct-taped together) of which my parents always knew, but it also was for good. You get to know people and form deep relationships based on where you came from. Even today, if I meet someone from Chillicothe, even if I did not know them especially well growing up, I probably knew their family, and vice-versa, it is an instant bond.
2. Authenticity –In small towns, there are old buildings surrounding courthouse squares or lining Main Street that have seen better days, people are not too busy to talk with you. Instead, they shoot you straight and Friday nights are filled with the latest high school sporting event. It has allowed me to appreciate that life doesn’t have to be filled with high-powered business meetings or fancy dinners, or the next big thing, it is alright to sit peacefully in the backyard and just let life happen.