What’s up, Middlesboro

Published 3:02 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

By Joanie Jasper

Main Street Middlesboro

What’s up, Middlesboro! During a recent drive to Youngstown, Ohio, I had lots of time to think about Middlesboro. I thought about how lucky  I am to live in a town in the Appalachian Mountains. It is like the mountains are giving the town a big hug. The mountains surrounding us provide us with an immersive art experience, just like the popular Van Gogh exhibit that can be seen at museums around the country. I am amazed at how the mountain views change throughout the day and, of course, the seasons. Right now, the mountains are starting to wake up after their winter sleep. The dots of purple flowers (strangely called Red  Buds) are delicately peeking through the still-underdressed trees. Soon the mountains will be fully dressed with various shapes and sizes of green and flowering trees. This nature fashion show will not just be visually appealing, but the sound of the chirping and singing birds will create a pleasing concert for us. I am not sure about you,  but when I walk out in the morning, I have to take a refreshing deep breath and smile. My drive took me through big cities and past small ones. I thought of lots of questions about the people who were living there. Were they happy to live there? Did they enjoy their job? Did they wish they could move somewhere else? Where was their favorite place to eat? Yes, I did think that because, you know, I am a foodie and was hungry. I know that many of you were asking why I had those thoughts. Why did  I care? Why does this have anything to do with what is happening in Middlesboro? I wish  I could give you a profound answer to those questions, but I don’t have one. The only way I can explain it is that I think everyone needs to live in a place that makes them happy; that makes them feel like they matter, that allows them to have a

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job that they enjoy; and, of course, have a lot of amazing places to eat (sorry I had to add that). I will never have the answers to all of my questions about those places I passed through, but I can find those answers from people in my town- Middlesboro. I would like to know your answers to those questions; just email them to me at downtownmiddlesboro@gmail.com. Your thoughts (responses) are important to me. I want to know what makes you happy or unhappy about Middlesboro. I might not be able to change your feelings, but I can help make it better for someone else living or moving here. I want to know if you like your job. Again, I can’t change your current situation, but I can help educate business owners on creating a working environment that allows employees to thrive. I would like to know if you would rather live somewhere else. Since I love being here, I would like to understand why you feel different. I genuinely want to help create a town that people enjoy living in, and others what to come to live here. Okay, I will go there. I would love to talk about food – we have some good restaurants, but we could benefit from some more.

You might be thinking, “well, that is a lot of useless words,” but are they useless? We all must care about the answers to those questions. When we care enough to learn the answers to the questions, then together we can create a place where we all can be happy, we can thrive, we will stay, we will bring others too, businesses will want to be,  and (lol) I will never have to cook again. In all seriousness, honest answers will create a better Middlesboro.

I look forward to seeing your answers fill my inbox – downtownmiddlesboro@gmail.com. I appreciate you and I love calling Middlesboro home!