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I've Got Some Famous Friends...

Have you heard the song Famous Friends, by Chris Young and Kane Brown? The chorus goes like this:

I’ve got some famous friends you’ve probably never heard of

But back in Rutherford County, our crowd is second to none

You might not know ‘em here in this big city we’re in

But when I go back home, I’ve got some famous friends

John and I visited Grand Cane, before we moved to DeSoto Parish. We’d have lunch downtown with John’s parents. It was always a meal to remember, because my father-in-law, Billy Franklin, was a celebrity. People walked in the door and headed straight for our table. The man could hardly finish his meal, what with all the handshaking and conversation. And he loved every single minute of it. As I sat quietly eating my meal, I’d wonder if that was how the family members of Hollywood celebrities felt. It was pretty cool.

We’d also attend Back Alley productions, and I laughed and clapped until my hands and throat hurt. Then I’d see the actors around town, and I was star struck. John would introduce them to their latest fangirl, but all I could do was gush. Yes, gush! Looking back, I’m sure I sounded like a babbling idiot. Sure, I’d attended live theater. But I’d never met the people who went on stage and performed—they’d always been mythical figures that lived in a different world. Yet in Grand Cane, they walked among us. What a magical place!

Now that I live and breathe in the unique and wonderful place called Grand Cane, my adoring fan persona has disappeared. Now I’m one of those dreaded name-droppers.

At Christmas, I was chatting with a friend about our holiday activities. “Oh, yes,” I replied, “I’m going to the mayor’s open house. Again. Yes, this will be the fourth year in a row.”

When our friends and family come to visit, we always say, “Let’s go to 4C Coffee! Perhaps the mayor will be there…or the sheriff.” They delight in meeting such high-ranking members of office. We take them to a show at Back Alley and shopping downtown, and they marvel at our status in the community. Why we know the actors by name! Not to mention we go to church with several of the business owners, and know them all well.

Of course, my friends are green with jealousy. They live in bustling cities like Austin or Houston or Longview, Texas. They have movie theaters and convention centers and dozens of restaurants. But they’ve never been to their mayor’s holiday open house.

Walking into 4C Coffee House is akin to stepping into a high-end bistro just after the Oscars—it’s always chock full of famous friends. On any day you can greet the sheriff of DeSoto Parish, several deputies, and members of the water board. And of course, the mayor, often with her grandchildren getting ice cream after school. Just last month I attended the mayor’s birthday party at 4C. Yes, 4C is the "in" place of Grand Cane, the place to see and be seen.

These are the things that make small towns so special—the feeling of community and the sense of family. Our mayor and our sheriff don’t sit in ivory towers, granting access to only a chosen few. They are part of the community they serve. Our actors don’t sit in trailers, talking only with their agents and publicists. Instead, they own businesses, work in banks, and sing in the church choir. And my father-in-law was surrounded by adoring fans, not because he’d recorded a top ten country song or held a high political office. He was admired and loved because of what he’d done for our small town.

I’ve got some famous friends you’ve probably never heard of. But in Grand Cane, our crowd is second to none. You might not know ‘em here in this big city you’re in. But back in Grand Cane, I’ve got some famous friends.