It’s hard to explain to you the little town in Alabama where I was raised. It’s not a big city. It’s not luxurious. There are more churches, used car lots, and BBQ restaurants here then anywhere else in the world. Of that I’ve convinced.
It’s so hot you begin to sweat the moment you walk outside. The smell of the Chattahooche River can be breathtaking. And not in a good way! And of all things… The Dairy Dream where I used to get milkshakes as a kid is now a tattoo parlor!
I’ve been away from this town for 16 years now. 2 years shy of the amount of time I lived here. I come back home once or twice a year to see my family and friends. I can’t say that I miss living in Phenix City. But I do enjoy come home.
It’s a special place to me. And here’s why!
1. The People
I’ve lived in Tampa, Atlanta, Mobile, and now Virginia Beach and the people I’ve encountered along the way have nothing on the people of Phenix City. These people are the most loving and caring people. You can’t even walk through Walmart without people stopping and asking how you’ve been. They are polite and considerate.
I walked into John’s Lawn and Garden yesterday and the first question I was asked was “how’s ya Mom and em'” (em… Being short for the rest of your family). I’ve never been asked in any of the other cities how my mother was doing!
These are hard working people who just want to provide for their family and watch football on the weekends. Starting Friday night through Saturday night. Because people down here don’t care about football on Sunday’s!
And then there is the infamous Jeff McDonald… Who doesn’t have Jeff stories! We had so much fun running the streets as teenagers!
2. The Food
The little restaurants here are simply incredible. I plan my entire week in Phenix City around which places to eat and when. When I need Chinese… Chef Lees it’s the spot. It’s El Vaquero when I need Mexican food. OkSuns Chicken Rollups are to die for. And The Royal Cafe is some of the best southern cooking I’ve ever had.
And that doesn’t even start the BBQ debate.
- Mike and Eds
- 13th St
- Clear view
- Chicken Comers
- Smokey Pig
And on and on and on! They are all good! I have my favorite. Tiff has hers. We just rotate back and forth. This is truly the best BBQ I’ve ever had.
3. The Shopping
The antique stores are so much fun to go through. From the Junque Yard to the Roosters Roost. And every Thrift Store in between. There has rarely been a time we’ve gone in these stores where we didn’t come out with something.
The local clothing shops like Kinnucans keeps everyone looking great. I’m convinced people dress much cuter down here. The girls wear tshirts and running shorts by day… And cute little dresses by night. The guys can be found in fishing shirts and shorts one minute and polo shirts and khakis that next. It amazing!
I’ve lived away from this place for a while now. And I don’t see any chance of me ever returning to live here. It’s not because I don’t like the place… It’s just that I know the path God has led me down… And all signs point to me living away. But I do miss the simplicity that comes with this town. How I can be across town in 15 minutes. I miss how I could walk in Walmart at any given time and see someone I know. I really miss seeing my family and friends all of the time. But that’s the cost of moving away.
Simply stated… If I tell you I’m from Phenix City, Alabama… Chances are you’ll have no idea where that is. It will never be on any destination lists. You’ll never drive through town and think it’s beautiful. But it’s home for me… And I love coming back!