Summerville, South Carolina is just the small time town it sounds like. The population is 42,000 and the city covers just over 15 square miles. It is a sleepy bedroom community without much industry. It is typical small town USA .

Summerville has a newspaper published twice a week. The Journal Scene comes out on Wednesday and Friday each week. It is a small paper, two sections and the ad inserts. There is local news without any reason to cover state, national, or international events. No one, in this age of instant communication, would wait for that sort of information.

I know this is a small town because on the front page of the Wednesday paper this week was this headline: “Pet dies in downtown apartment fire” plastered right under the fold. I found the article online, linked above. At the website, a different, less astounding, headline was used. A picture is also included but I won’t post it here due to copyright stuff.

The owner wasn’t at home when the building caught fire but his dog was inside. I don’t know what to think of this line from the 317 word article written about this local fire. “EMS attempted to revive the dog, but sadly, was not able to save it, Profit said.” Profit is the Battalion Chief of the Summerville Fire Department.

I feel sorry for this person whose home was destroyed. I know how horrible it is to lose a pet to fire. But I can’t think of anywhere but a small town where this would get front page play.

Part of the reason is, of course, that the paper doesn’t cover state, national, or international news (unless directly impacting the town). And with only 42,000 people running around making newsworthy items to report on, pickings are slim.

The most confusing part of where I live is that I don’t, technically or legally, live in Summerville. Anyone writing to me has to address the envelope to Summerville, South Carolina. However, I actually live in North Charleston (population 97,601 and covering 76.6 square miles). I use North Charleston services such as trash pickup and police. However, the closest Post Office is right down Dorchester Road a couple miles, across the city border line and in Summerville. So even though I am living in North Charleston, my mailing address is the smaller town.

I live in Dorchester County. North Charleston is divided and part of it is in Dorchester (obviously since I just said I live there) and part is in Berkeley County while the rest lies in Charleston County. I have no idea how one city can be in three counties, but I live in the South and have stopped asking questions.

I may live in North Charleston, geographically speaking, but I work in beautiful downtown Summerville right across from the small town version of Central Park. We have a square that is decorated often, has a path through it, and a bronze statue. It is beautiful at Christmas time when the trees are swathed in white twinkling lights. Local businesses decorate the lawn with displays for Halloween and Christmas.

I like living here overall, and yet there are simply times when I am struck full in the face with being part of such a small community. I have subscribed to the paper since we got here and the price is stunningly low, although I don’t really remember what we pay.

I remember the Warren, Illinois weekly paper my grandparents used to get every time this paper arrives here. Full of local news and important information to locals, but uninteresting to any outsiders. Unless, of course, you can capture attention with a wild headline.

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