I sometimes wonder whether the rural Missouri town where I grew up is losing its individuality. I turned on the car radio yesterday morning and found myself listening to “Sympathy for the Devil,” which wasn’t exactly what I’d expected to hear on a small-town radio station at eight-thirty in the morning. As I drove to the hospital where my mother is recovering from spinal surgery, I found I had to go well out of my way to see the quirky homemade roadside signs that were commonplace when I was a boy: Hail Sale. Green Tomatoes. It’s Sweet Corn Season! Now that computer-generated graphics and franchise trademarks are increasingly ubiquitous, Smalltown, U.S.A., is looking more and more like Anyplace, U.S.A….
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