Off The Record: Quick and easy ways newcomers can 'be Danville'

September 20, 2004|HERB BROCK

Over the summer a lot of new people have moved to Danville. Hundreds of Centre College freshmen from out of town also are calling Danville their hometown, at least for the next nine months. Thus, it is time for my periodic primer on how newcomers can survive, even thrive, in this old Kentucky village.

The Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce and the Welcome Wagon folks will provide you newcomers with valuable information, but you won't find everything you need to know about your new hometown, like various idiosyncrisies dealing with language, attitude, roads, religion and politics.

Without further ado, here are some quick and easy ways you, too, can be Danville.

* Danville is an adjective.

You may have noticed that I said this column would help you "be Danville." You see, Danville is not just a place on the map; it's also a state of mind, a station in life and, most important, a sign of genealogical status.


For example, when a native Danvillian is escorting a newcomer around town to meet people, the native often will differentiate between fellow natives and non-natives, and he or she uses a rigorous standard for the differentiation.

It is not unusual for the native, upon introducing the newcomer to someone, to whisper right before the introduction, "He's Danville" or "She's not Danville." It doesn't matter that he or she may have lived in Danville for three decades. The pedigree rule is that in order to "be Danville" the person not only must have been born and raised in Danville but also had parents, grandparents and greatparents who did the same.

* Education is so important we need two school systems.

You look at the small geographical size of our county - it's one of the smallest in the state - and the relatively small population of under 30,000 and you might wonder why there is a need for two school systems. Perhaps it's because there is just too much good educating going on - too many good teachers and students - to be confined to one school system.

Both the Danville and Boyle County districts are good ones, both boasting teachers and principals who have won top state honors and graduates who regularly attend the top colleges in the country. It may seem odd that these neighbors work at and attend separate districts, but, as a great educator once said, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

* Football is so important we need two teams.

Same thing for the football teams at Danville and Boyle County high schools. There apparently are so many good coaches and players, one school system is too small to handle them all.

And both the Admirals and the Rebels have done pretty well, winning state title after state title, year after year, in their respective classes. Until you hear the first "y'all," drink your first "sweet tea" and eat your first order of country ham with red-eye gravy, you may think you're in Green Bay with all the references you'll hear to this community being "Title Town."

* We are a Baptist community.

Until I attended a Baptist college, I didn't realize that churches were open for business on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights. I also didn't realize you could worship without kneeling, an altar or wine with communion; sermons could be longer than five minutes; and people can remember the day they were baptised.

There are churches here for most Christian persuasions, so you likely will find a religious home. But know that this county is dominated by Baptists to such an extent that it is wise not to plan anything - from a party to your own passing - on Sunday nights or Wednesday nights.

* We are not that Baptist.

After years of being technically a "dry" town - people did consume booze in their homes and at some private clubs and bootleggers were busy - Danville voted "moist" a couple of years ago, despite efforts of a largely church-organized opposition effort. That means most of the town's large restaurants serve alcoholic beverages.

I still wouldn't schedule any bar hoppings on Wednesday evenings. Most of the folks that would be sitting next to you on bar stools likely will be sitting in pews at those times. Schedule the hopping any other night and they'll be there.

* This a Democratic-Republican county.

Shortly after the United States was formed, one of the early, short-lived parties was the Democratic-Republican Party. That party died in the rest of the country but is alive and well here.

Registration rolls show that Democrats outnumber Republicans by a substantial margin of better than 2 to 1. But many election results show that this is a Republican county. In most federal elections - for president, congressman and senator - Boyle often votes GOP. In county elections, Democrats are still in control.

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