I am Julia Osborne and I recently joined Leslie at A Simple Gesture.
I am new to Greensboro. My husband and I moved from Georgia, where not only have I lived my entire life, but generations of my ancestors on both sides lived their entire lives. I never thought I’d leave. Life happens, though, and we relocated for his job.
Our first visit turned out to be the weekend of the 2017 Christmas parade. We loved the way Greensboro showed up for that event. From our outside perspective, it felt like this town really showed up to celebrate community. As we people-watched along the parade route, we mixed with people from all over the world, socioeconomic levels, races, creeds, and orientations. Everyone showed up to watch the dance teams, wave at the celebrities from the local TV station, and feel the band’s bass drums in their chest. It was a grand event.
Four months later, we sat in our little apartment off West Market Street one Saturday evening as the tornado wrecked East Greensboro. Three schools were damaged to the point of reassigning students to other schools, a major life disruption for a child. This community showed up in ways I have never seen and could never have predicted: neighbors were opening their homes to neighbors; people were organizing drives for water, school supplies, and food; and folks were helping each other clean up debris. Once again, we were struck by this community’s spirit, generosity, and kindness for fellow travelers.
We watched and listened and sought to understand what occurs to create such a warm community: Was it the Quaker influence? Was this a result of so many colleges in one town? How does the 3rd largest city in North Carolina maintain a small-town feel?
I’ve been here a little over a year now, and I don’t know how you do it, Greensboro, but I’m mighty glad you do. I don’t know what shaped this town’s culture, but you keep showing up for each other. You show up for the good and the bad, the parades and the tornadoes. Thank you for showing up to help out folks among us who are hungry. And thanks for such a warm welcome.