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Small Town, Big Doings

by | Jul 25, 2023

Marguerite Williams

My husband dragged me to Davidson, kicking and screaming, 46 years ago. What could I possibly find to do in this little, bitty town? Having been brought up in Houston and then going to the University of Texas, I was used to big spaces with lots of people. Davidson could hardly qualify as being a big space.

After living here for about a year, I began to discover all the things that Davidson offered for fun and learning, for everyone in our family. Our boys grew up going to college games, the Swimming Hole, Cub Scouts, and McEver Field on their own, having the personal freedom to ride around town on their bicycles. The Soda Shop became a regular stop for them on Saturdays. Meanwhile, I participated in town and church activities of all kinds and found my place among dear friends and families.

This past weekend, I was struck, again, by all the things we can do in Davidson, if only we avail ourselves of them. I had a remarkable few days, all within the boundaries of this town. On Friday, I had the pleasure of seeing the matinee of “Oppenheimer” at Our Town Cinema. I thought the movie was great, but it was especially great that the movie house is just a mile from my house. And it’s a nice movie house, with the best popcorn and snacks, comfortable seats, and nice people.

Then, on Friday night, I saw “Underrated,” the documentary about Steph Curry. Of course, Steph was the star, but the college and town looked mighty pretty. Dogwoods, azaleas, and tulips decorated the campus and town streets, and Main Street was lively with students, parents, young kids, and grandparents. It looked more idyllic than it probably is, but what fun to see us reflected in the documentarian’s camera.

“how to make an American son” (Chris Record photo)

On Saturday, my cousin and I went to a production of the Common Thread Theatre Collective at the Barber Theatre on campus. Common Thread is a joint venture of North Carolina A&T and Davidson College, in which students participate in all backstage aspects of production, from set and costume design to lighting and props. We saw the east coast premiere of Christopher Oscar Peña’s riveting drama, “how to make an American Son.”  While professional actors dominated the stage, the students’ good work was in evidence throughout the night. As we were leaving, we met a student who was responsible for the transitions of props and furnishings between scenes, and we were happy to be able to compliment his work. He told us that this summer had been a good experience for him, staying in the dorm with other students, getting to know them and sharing in the productions. It was a meaningful night in which we saw a beautiful play and felt the importance of this collaboration between two North Carolina colleges.

“The Explorers Club” (Carrie Cranford photograph)

On Sunday, I went with family to the Davidson Community Players production of a British farce, called “The Explorers Club,” at the lovely Duke Family Performance Center on campus. It was a funny, happy two hours of pure escapism, with The Players’ usual professionalism and fine acting. Less than a mile from my house, the theatre rivals any venue in a larger city, with beautiful design and seating. The Players’ summer seasons, this year comprising a dazzling “Mary Poppins” and farcical “The Explorers Club,” have been a gift for this community.

If you are bored in Davidson, you are just not looking. Fun, stimulating, exciting opportunities wait around the corner. How lucky does that make us! We have all the beauty and convenience of a small town, with the experiences one finds in a big city. I could not imagine the wonders that Davidson would hold all those years ago when my husband told me he wanted to move…where? Davidson? Yes!

Marguerite Williams

Marguerite (Margo) Williams is a novelist ("Madame President"), editor, and business owner of A Way With Words. She has lived in Davidson since 1977. Visit her at her website.

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