The heat laden summers of Humboldt, Tennessee wear you like a thick winter coat in a sauna. Like too many small towns across this country, Humboldt seems to have become a remnant of a more productive time and era. Storefronts that were once covered by the vinyl siding of the 80’s is falling off exposing bricks made on site close to 100 years ago. Some have made attempts at rejuvenating this Main Street with clothing stores and restaurants, in so doing adding a couple more decades of life to them possibly, but the only things that seem to stick around are fast cash advance and title loan businesses. The other buildings sit like stoic ruins badly camouflaged by outdated building materials.
The rest of town is occupied by housing sustained by those receiving government benefits or those living on their own retirement resulting in a very idle, near extinct workforce. The drive to make money died some time ago here for the majority of a once driven people. For too many under the age of 40 exists an acceptance of normalcy for apathy towards earning a living and providing for ones own family. Unfortunately it appears most of those who receive government benefits also seem to be members of broken families whose parents have had multiple partners and several children from different partners.
It’s not uncommon, like many places in the country, to see 5 or more children walking down the street in groups, minus a parent or adult figure. It frightens me being a parent to think about toddlers walking down the road with the oldest in arms reach being only 6-8 years old. Adults convene under shade trees or covered porches and glare statue like as you drive past.
The busiest place in town is of course the local one-stop-shop for all of your clothing, grocery, pharmaceutical, and lawn care & garden needs, Walmart. The sole proprietors who have survived up until now are nothing short of miracles. Among the immovable are a jeweler, somehow a few real estate agencies, a pharmacist, a dentist, a used car dealer or two, a lumber yard, expectantly, lawyers, and of course cash advances and a bank or two.
For dining out you have an array of options such as the omniscient McDonald’s, the new to town Hardee’s, Taco Bell, and a few local staples, one of which thankfully is a BBQ pit, and a great one at that, commonly known as Sam’s to the locals.
About 8 years ago or so the previous mayor helped orchestrate funding for a sister campus of a community college that is headquartered in a neighboring town. But who knows how it is doing now. There’s not any talk of it. One would hope a college would be a little caffeine to a sleepy town, even if it is a sister campus of a community college. But it looks like whatever college crowd that might exist within its walls don’t drink coffee and unfortunately has the appearance of taking the route common to too many endeavors in a place presumably heavily subsidized by government.
A lot of people put their hope into the influence of the Office of the President of the United States of America. It’s hard to truly put hope into our current presidential candidates, so the people here will vote for, given they vote, for the party they always vote for. While both candidates appeal to their constituents in this area, it appears to divide more than unite. And as a result is more of detriment than a benefit for our town and country. If Hillary Clinton wins it can be confidently suspected guns sales will go out the roof and one might do well to open a gun store here, at least while they’re legal, right? Those who receive government benefits will also be relieved their money will keep coming in, and possibly even increase. If Donald Trump wins, the entrepreneurs and real estate agents will be a little pumped in hopes of sales increasing in their respectful industries, while anxiety cultivates among the dependents of benefits out of speculation what will come of their money.
Either way one sect will be living in a world of increasing anxiety for the next 4 years. Truth be told, we all would benefit by adopting a get-through-it mindset for the next 4 years, and hope for a more conducive, unifying candidate in 2020.