Here is an article written by my good friend, Rodney Sessions, about life in Petal.
I was born in the village of Rose Hill quite a few decades ago. My father was career military. My time spent living in this rural village with my grandparents depended on his deployment. Some of my father’s assignments allowed for families, and some didn’t. I have lived all over the world, but I spent a significant portion of my formative years on my grandparents’ hilltop farm. Rose Hill will always be my hometown. We moved into our current residence in Petal n 1989. Prior to that time, I had never lived in any house more than 3 years at a time. Twenty-nine years of living, working and forming wonderful relationships and friendships have made Petal my second hometown.
Petal is a small but growing town. Our schools are nationally recognized. We have an abundance of churches and houses of worship. A great Civic Center, municipal offices, Library, Veteran’s Memorial, and city park are focal points of downtown Petal. Petal is blessed with several medical and dental clinics. I have had the same Petal family doctor for the past twenty-something years. I would not trade him for any big city doctor. He gives you sincere care and time. He and his team still practice the art of medicine as well as the science of medicine.
You will find numerous national chains and businesses in my hometown, but you just cannot beat the local businesses for down-home service. Petal has been called the “Friendly City”. I think the moniker is based on the caring, helpful, and supportive people you will meet everywhere you go in our town. Petal was named by one national publication as the safest city in Mississippi. We have a wealth of great neighborhoods. Our recreational and youth sports facilities and play grounds are second to none for a city our size. My hometown is a wonderful place to raise children.
One of my favorite places in town is the Family Y, which is a wonderful place for people of all ages. We are also blessed with numerous other fitness centers and walking tracks. There are plenty of places to get in shape in Petal. If you enjoy good food as much as I do, you will most certainly enjoy a wide and growing variety of over 20 great eating places in the “Friendly City”. I do enjoy coffee and coming up with solutions to all the world’s problems with my old Codger buddies each morning at our favorite breakfast hangout. I think every small town has a similar place for its old Codgers to gather.
The relatively new Petal River park has miles of woodland trails, mountain biking trails, and a nice new walking track. The city is planning a big Independence Day Celebration at this nice park along Leaf River. Even though I have lived and traveled in big cities all over America and the world, I am a small town kinda guy at heart. If you prefer a larger city or need additional services, we have a nice one right across the river.
Petal suits me just fine. I am sure the people in Purvis, Richton, Sumrall, and other small towns in the Pine Belt Area feel the same way about their own hometowns. I would love to see some community columns about the uniqueness of each of these fine towns.
I believe the strength and vitality of our nation is built on small towns and hometowns all over America.