August 2015 Column Winner

Big fish, small pond

Suzy Thurman Oberholtz, Drumright Gusher

I have often had to report on stories I did not want to cover, from something as horrible as sudden deaths of people I know due to car accidents or illness, to political game playing. Trust me; it goes on in small towns just as much or maybe more than in the big city.
Actually politics doesn’t have to involve actual politicians or party lines. Sadly people play politics in the office, schools, even churches every single day. And those types of political maneuvers hit closer to home, and on a very personal level.
We tend to be big fish in a small pond, so it’s harder to ignore than in a big pond.
We can roll our eyes in disgust, or pound our chests in anger over what our Republican, Democrat, or Independent politicians do. The more personal battles can rip apart friends and family, and can cost us jobs or church families.
It can cause us to lose respect for people we once put on a pedestal. It’s hard to find out how people really feel about issues, or what parts of their personality you never knew existed.
With the explosion of social media such as Facebook or Twitter the world seems much smaller. And we all have an audience for our every thought. We inflate our fish status, while diminishing our pond even further.
How many of you have people you thought you had a deep connection with, but now you can’t figure out why you are friends? I am pretty sure a lot of people feel that way about me. People I’ve known most of my life are shocked at how I truly feel about hot topics. Just when they assume I am a liberal I turn around and do or say something very conservative.
Small towns make us feel like a big fish in a small pond. We don’t have anonymity. We can’t hide our bad qualities among the masses.
Sometimes that sucks.
But there are times when being a big fish in a small pond is pretty awesome.
On a personal level when I went through breast cancer twice, along with chemo and radiation, I went public with it. There was no hiding it anyway, because we are ALL big fish in this small pond. People knew, they shared the news, the called with offers to help, brought food, offered to run errands, clean my house, and so much more importantly they prayed. They didn't just say it, they did it.
So I know how that side of this small town/community works, and it’s pretty amazing.
You see, in small ponds when push comes to shove there are no Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. There are people.
And those people step up, whether it’s with prayers or money, we step up, and no one gives a hoot how those in need vote or feel about gay marriage, abortion, or any other hot topic.
This weekend we made a short road trip with my parents and grand kids. So I wasn’t around to cover our locals doing what they do best - taking care of each other – but that didn’t prevent me from finding out what people did. And the amazing part is not one person I talked to, who I know worked hard to make things happen, talked about their part in things. They all gave the kudos to others, and the glory to God.
Whether it’s a Cushing car lot calling Christy Beard about doing a fundraiser to help with travel expenses for her many trips to Oklahoma City for McKoy’s treatments, or a group of people putting on a softball fundraiser for Drumright Fire Chief Loren Wade Geyer who is fighting blood cancer, or two women in Yale spending weeks gathering donations and planning a huge Back 2 School Bash for the kids - all these big fish in small ponds work together and get amazing things done.
And they don’t just work for one goal; they work with others to make other goals happen as well.
As I marvel at how much just a few people in a very small area can accomplish, I am so thankful to be one of those fish in this little pond.
I might love to travel to bigger ponds. I may be blessed to know and love people who are well known in very big ponds. But I wouldn’t trade ponds with anyone. I am proud of the fish in this pond, and the stories I get to cover.

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