Small Town Circus Act

In my last article I mentioned a neighbor with a story. In small town fashion he’s actually my neighbor because he lives within two miles of my house, he goes to my church, he’s on the water system board with John, he does projects for us at the farm and at home, and his wife loves my books. In small towns we have so many connections, but that’s a topic for a different time. If I aimed to be completely accurate, he’s my neighbor/fellow church goer/man who takes care of my water/contractor/husband of an avid reader of my books. And it got me to thinking.


There are a lot of people in Grand Cane (maybe other small towns too) who juggle several jobs, paid or volunteer. At one time our plumber was also a parish deputy. Our pastor also maintains our sewer system. One of our alderman operates our downtown restaurant. Our bed and breakfast innkeeper is a licensed massage therapist, with an office in Grand Cane. John owns a farm, and he’s about to open a food trailer (more on that in April). 


I’m sure there are more people juggling jobs and businesses and volunteer opportunities. But where am I going with this? I’m curious if the same juggling happens in big cities. Does the mayor of Dallas also play bridge and pick up his grandkids after school? Inquiring minds want to know.


Eric L. Johnson was re-elected in May 2023 with 98.7% of the vote, breaking a 114-year-old record for highest vote percentage by a Dallas mayoral candidate. Impressive, but does he serve gumbo to his constituents in the local park? Did he play together as children with many of his voters? Something tells me he did not. 


When I lived in Longview, TX the mayor performed oral surgery on my back tooth. That was kind of special, but not nearly as special as my mayor hanging out with me and the other ladies in the coffee shop every Friday. Small towns keep us tied to our community, and they keep us humble. I’m pretty sure between Brother Mike’s pastoral duties at Grand Cane Baptist and his, uh, sewage tasks…sewer duties? Cesspool obligations? Oh that’s right—sanitation supervisor responsibilities! Anyway, no doubt Mike stays pretty humble. 


I’m never concerned that our village council will forget who they represent, because they interact with us every day. And I’ve seen their salaries—the village budget is public record. They’re not in it for the money or the prestige or the glamor. They’re just like the rest of us, building a community that we can be proud of. And I’ll put that up against any big city every day of the week.


Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1989. You can reach her at