Sometimes it’s nice to do some self-reflection, and sometimes we need an outsider to call us out before we reach the point of examining oneself.

I have a reporter friend who resides next to the city of Lynchburg, and he isn’t used to the ins and outs of a rural small town.

He lives in Forest in a “golf community” minutes away from a golf club, much different than the house I grew up in and still live in today located in an area that has no businesses close by other than H&H Grocery and hardly anyone my age within walking distance.

What seems to be most different about us is our way of thinking, which I seem to like the most about our friendship, because he challenges my way of thinking, and I challenge his.

Most recently, I told him about the “drug search issue” in our county, that in my opinion shouldn’t have grown to the lengths that it did.

Emotions got involved including my own.

When I told him about the story, how the story developed, and how I felt, and I was pretty heated over the situation, he said, and I’m paraphrasing, I no longer think your temper comes from your mama. I think you have a “small town attitude.”

Of course, I first took offense, but I quickly reminded myself that I was talking to a friend.

I first thought is he, a friend who I spent many days having discussions with at Longwood University, calling me petty, small-minded, short-sighted.

He said, “I wouldn’t say you’re petty, but I think you can get frustrated really quickly.”

He elaborated saying “every person I have ever met from a small town is sweet, friendly and would give you the shirt off their back, but if you step a foot out of line, even if what you said is just misinterpreted, you’ll get your nose punched, sometimes literally.”

Basically, I think he is saying sometimes we’re quick to jump to anger and strife, not worried about what relationships we cut off in the process.

Do we really want to be like that or be seen in this light?

Maybe we should take a step back, settle down, let the water settle and our heads clear before we jump into action.

We’re all in this town together, and if it’s one thing I’ve known to always be true about this town, is that we all care about each other.

Even if we have a conflict, we pull together and help at the time it is needed.

But, maybe things would be a little better if we weren’t so quick to anger.

Take a step back like I did with my friend and get a little explanation before we get fired up and strike back.

Revenge isn’t always sweet.

And yes, this is even a message to myself.

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at