Tyler Texas is My City

by admin on September 21, 2010

in Tyler Businesses

One of my favorite quotes is by an anonymous Greek who said, “No man loves his city because it is great, but because it is his.” Similarly G.K. Chesterton once wrote “Men did not love Rome because she was great, she was great because they loved her.” These maxims were recently brought to mind by a conversation I had with a new friend of mine who just re-located to Tyler, from Austin. He was telling me of his love for the city he had just left, and while fond of his new surroundings, he admitted that the transition had been a little difficult. As we spoke I began to contemplate my own relationship with my hometown. What is it that keeps me coming back to Tyler? What are the aspects that despite the sometimes, frustrating inconveniences of relatively small town life, make Tyler, Texas my city? What aspects of our community life make Tylerites unique, and give us character?

When I was growing up, more than anything I wanted out of Tyler. I realize this sentiment is far from unusual for young people in almost any city. At my first opportunity I traveled around fairly extensively. I’d leave, come home, leave again and return. I’d take teaching positions at little private schools here and there, but whether I was in New Orleans or St. Paul, I would eventually feel the pull of my old hometown. So what is it about Tyler? I’m an Anglo- Catholic (meaning conservative Episcopalian), living in a city that is predominately Baptist. I find the smoking ban to be a restrictive fad, the dry county law a nuisance that actually creates more problems than it prevents, and I miss being able to pick up the phone and have nearly any kind of food I want delivered to my front door, when I don’t want to cook. On the other hand, I love local Texas Barbeque, fall football, and raising my son with traditional values, in a politically conservative community.

So in recent years I’m finding that I’m growing out of my youthful notions of what it means to be from Tyler. Instead I’m exploring new ones. I’m finding new things to revel in and love about my city, things like Brady’s Coffee Shop, Bruno’s Pizza, the Purple Pig and Stanley’s Barbeque. My son lives for a weekend visit to the Caldwell Zoo and I’m enjoying the community that happens around a high school football game, or the East Texas Fair. I really enjoy a cool drive to work over the brick streets of the azalea district in the morning, (and no I don’t live there). To those who balk at my thoughts as silly nostalgia, let me say two things. First autumn is the season for nostalgia. And second, go away for a while. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll be back, and when you return the city will look different to you. Make no mistake Tyler’s shortcomings won’t simply vanish in your absence, but her good points will loom just a little larger. I still get itchy feet now and again. But after a little travel and exploration coming home is never drudgery anymore. There are certainly other cities and places that I love, but I’m realizing more and more that Tyler, while it may not be a “great” city, at least not yet, it is for better or worse, my city.

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