If you want to see just how big your "hometown" is, simply become famous.
Before "American Idol" fame, Elliston's Crystal Bowersox was just an ordinary young woman from a crossroads community of fewer than 100 residents. But she went to the big city, not the closest big city Graytown (population fewer than 1,400) or Oak Harbor (2,800) or even Toledo (293, 291) to find her way.
Bowersox set her sights on Chicago (9,793,036). There she became part of a community of buskers who entertained in bus stations and on street corners. She auditioned for American Idol and her crisp, clear voice elevated her among the contestants to the finals of the TV competition. Suddenly, everyone wanted to talk about the hometown girl who was living her dream. Suddenly, everyone knew her, or knew someone who went to school with her, or heard her sing in one of the local clubs.
Friday, the woman whose "hometown" has expanded to include all of northern Ohio, southeastern Michigan and, even Chicago, will come home to Ottawa County Fairgrounds to be greeted by thousands of friends, new and old, who are rooting for her continued success. The Oak Harbor High School Band will lead a parade in her honor. TV cameras from multiple stations, reporters and photographers will be on hand to record the festivities.
Community spirit seems to well up during hard times (tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters) and during times of collective pride in one person's achievements or a team's accomplishments. Thanks to Bowersox, the large community which now claims her as its own has something to cheer about.
Keep up the good work, Crystal.