I feel sort of like the guy who writes a message, rolls it up and puts it into a bottle, and then throws it into the ocean to see where it lands. The note could be an SOS message to potential rescuers, a message to a long-lost love, or even a silly schoolboy note, the topic doesn’t matter.
The bottle floats here or there in the choppy waves and most times the note — in my case, my blog — goes unheralded floating forever in a nether world. Oh thanks to modern technology and social media, I’m able to see that my blog touches home with a few loyal Facebook friends and family members, who have my eternal gratitude, but it floats into nothingness.
The hits keep coming
In a few rare instances, though, I send out my “little missives” and they keep going and going and going to faraway lands and strangers across the globe. My recent post on how I’ve made a 180-degree turn in my beliefs and have come to value the small-town where I grew-up has become the gift that keeps on giving.
The post, Missing the Big Valley, has been shared numerous times by people I’ve never met and organizations that I’ve never heard of and has racked up more hits and views then I ever could have expected. For someone like myself, who writes a blog on a whim, that’s like hitting the Powerball or Mega Millions lottery. The piece has had views from readers in Germany, UK, Iceland, Mexico, Canada, and Vietnam among other countries and easily ranks as my most viewed post in 2016.
And to think, I thought it would see a small spike in numbers most likely from a few of my high school friends because I mentioned Big Valley in the title, but I expected the piece to soon travel into oblivion like many of my other pieces.
Home is where the heart is
I think a big reason why the piece has been so popular is because we love looking back and reflecting on the place where we grew up, whether small or big; rural or urban; whether we live there now, can’t wait to return, or never expect to set foot there again. We can all relate too to how our hometowns shaped us and built us into the people we are today.
My hometown set me up with the small-town values and love of the mountains. Likewise, I have friends who grew up in Philadelphia, who talk in a shorthand foreign to outsiders like me that references different schools and dioceses and parts of the city. The Northeast, the Italian Market, St. Jerome’s vs. St. Timothy’s, mean nothing to me, but to the people who grew up there, they take on an entirely different meaning.
Who knows if I’ll ever see the same views and hits again but it’s fun to see where my posts go. It’s even more fun for the writer in me to have a chance to put my thoughts down on paper.
But even more important than hit totals, I’m so very grateful for everyone who has taken time away from everything else going on in their lives to read my blog. I know all too well how precious your time and feedback is and thank you from the bottom of my heart.