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CNN: So glad for your visit, bless your heart

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By Greg Summers

Dear CNN,
Unlike some folks in Lancaster County, I want to say thank you for coming here recently to put us in the national spotlight and point out all our problems. It’s about time somebody shed a little light on things around here. I owe you a great debt.
Thank you for reminding me that I am blessed with a pronounced, proper southern drawl. I guess that’s why when I talk to someone in another region of the country, they always say “I love your accent. I could listen to you talk all day.” That’s when I inform them they have an accent, not me.
Some of them also ask me about the “bless your heart” rule. Yes, you can speak ill of someone else as long as you add that three-word phrase to the end of it.
For now, let’s get back to showing a little gratitude.
Thank you for reminding me that I live in a town where going to Charley’s Cafe is a treat that I don’t enjoy nearly as much as I’d like to. They have great food and a great staff, but like many, my family is on a budget.
We usually eat at the Shrimp Boat, Leigh Anne’s or Elmo’s. When I want to get a little insight into what’s going on, these are the places I head. Business owners like the Jenkinses, Marc Culler and the Presnells don’t mind if I talk to their customers while I enjoy their food. Shucks, they always go out of their way to say thank you just for stopping in. And if you don’t have enough money to leave as much of a tip as you’d like to, they understand.    
If you wanted the real story of Lancaster, you should have gone to Buford Little General Store and talked to part-time employee Kim Mullens.
This amazing mom of two works two – and sometimes three jobs – just so she and her husband, God-fearing and God-loving Dallas Mullens, can keep their heads above water. Yet, somehow “Mrs. Kim” still finds time and energy to volunteer as a Girl Scout leader. That’s what I call perseverance in hard times. Thank you for reminding me of that.    
I’m also grateful to live in a town where faith is important. We understand the framers of the Constitution penned the document in such a way to keep government out of the church, not keep the church out of the government.
Shucks, your news staff sure has a lot on us. We don’t have a national audience and the ability to get out news as it happens.
All we have is readers who show up in The Lancaster News parking lot and call working journalists outside – not to fight and argue – but to pray for us.
I guess we just don’t measure up. Boy, this sure is one backwards town.
Gee, until Jan. 19, I didn’t realize my life was so wretched and lacking. I moved back here in 1992 to join others who wallow in the same misery.
Perhaps that’s the reason why local hairdresser Krista Poyner stays, too. After all, misery loves company. Talented and friendly, I met Poyner two years ago and she’s been cutting my hair ever since. She reminded me of that Jan. 17.
I called Poyner for a quick trim after I was asked to serve as a pall bearer for the late Karen South. While cutting my hair that day, Poyner thanked me for sticking with her. Although she’s mulling a lucrative job with a national hair care company, her long-range plans include living and still cutting hair here.  
“I’m learning that I need to say thank you when someone thinks enough to stick with you,” Poyner said.   
You have also reminded me that, even with its faults and shortcomings, Lancaster – and specifically Buford – isn’t a bad place to raise a family. You could’ve figured that out by walking inside Elmo’s and asking somebody about that.
By the way, Elmo’s is right beside Poppi’s Pizza, where you interviewed Cotton Cole. I guess you forgot to mention that he’s on County Council. It must’ve been a mistake. Bless your heart.
That’s the way Cotton now considers his interview time – as an embarrassing mistake. Cole said you spent more than an hour talking with him about issues and candidates only to use one remark he jokingly made while making a pizza for a customer.
But that’s OK, I guess. We are so uneducated we wouldn’t notice any of that. That’s because so many of us got part of our education at the University of South Carolina Lancaster.
If you didn’t know it, USCL is all those buildings on S.C. Bypass 9 across from Walmart and one of those strip malls where we all shop. But, bless your heart, you probably didn’t know that.
I reckon S.C. Highway Patrol Col. Mike Oliver, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Tom Moore and Jimmy Addison, senior vice president and chief financial officer for the SCANA Corp., didn’t have any opportunity to get a portion of a decent education here. Boy, this hick town sure hindered and kept them from advancing, didn’t it?
You’re right. Our pitiful existence comes from living in a tattered community that folded up when Springs shut down. There’s nothing here for anybody anymore. I guess the fact that Sun City Carolina Lakes is one the fastest-growing subdivisions in the United States is a big lie.
Your article quoted someone as saying that citizens were praying for a large company to come here. Evidently God heard that prayer and answered it.
In early August, I met Nutramax Laboratories President Dr. Todd Henderson when Brody the Bear stopped by for a visit. When I asked Henderson, a veterinarian, how the company ended up choosing Lancaster Business Park as its new home, I got an answer I didn’t expect.
“God led us here,” Henderson said. I didn’t have to ask him again. You should’ve looked him up while you were in town. I’m sure he would’ve told you that.
CNN, thank you for reminding me of Henderson’s words.
Thank you for reminding me that even in a small, depressed, no-hope-for-us, drying-up-and-dying town, it is a journalist’s responsibility to tell both sides of a news story, not to have just one.
If I have an opinion, it belongs on this page.
Most of all, thank you for reminding me why I now watch national news on BBC America. It’s the only place to find news that’s fair and balanced.
Thanks again for your visit. Bless your heart, but we’d rather have the bear.