A lost four-year old girl, and a former mayor, show why small-town life is best.

On Wednesday morning, as we were in the final rush getting last Thursday’s Gazette ready to send to the printing plant, an upset-looking woman came through the front doors.
“Did you see a four year old girl come in here?” she asked.
That’s not the sort of question people normally ask when they come into the Gazette, so we said no and asked what was up.
It seems a four year old girl was lost, and out wandering downtown. Apparently she had been in a downtown store with her parents, and decided to explore.
Immediately, several of us headed outside to look. When I stepped out onto S. Washington Street, I already saw a dozen or so downtown business owners traipsing up and down the streets and alleys, calling the girl’s name.
One thing that especially bothered me was that I was about to head out to do an interview, and would have to back my car out of the parking lot.
The last thing I — or anyone else — needed was a scared four year old hiding anywhere around my car.
As I poked through the alley behind the E. 2nd Street stores, I saw more and more people joining in the search across the downtown area — at least 30 grown-ups.
That doesn’t include the two police cars and one sheriff’s department car driving slowly up and down the streets.
Eventually I saw a woman heading toward the intersection of E. 2nd and Washington Streets, calling out, “It’s okay! They found her!”
What I heard was that the girl was spotted down by the cell phone store near the bottom of the “Y” intersection. Whether that’s true or one of those “I heard from a friend of a friend” things, I never found out.
Anyway, you could see the sigh of relief sweep across the whole downtown area like a wave. Everyone headed back inside to work or back to their shopping, finally able to relax.
That sort of thing is why I like living in a small town.
. . . . .
About a dozen years ago I did a story for the Gazette: “A Day in the Life of the Mayor”.
After making arrangements with Sara Triplett, I followed her around for a day.
On the appointed morning, she met me at her front door at around 6:30 a.m. in her bathrobe.
I didn’t spend the whole day with Mayor Triplett . If I remember right, she was working in the ACMC clinic’s lab at the time, and I wasn’t allowed in back for more than a picture or two. And I still had the whole rest of my job to do that day.
It was a fun day, following her around at the clinic, to city hall (“That’s my office,” she said, pointing out a mailbox on a wall) and running errands.
Sara seemed genuinely mystified and amused that anyone would be interested in finding out what she did all day.
I think that day is how I’m going to remember her best.