#2,224 Home Town on HGTV.

Today we finally saw our HGTV pilot, Home Town. I’m far too spent to recount the way it felt. It just wouldn’t be possible. But suffice it to say, I felt your love all around us from the moment I woke up (with shaking hands, I was so nervous) and I’ll sleep tonight knowing we did the best we could do, and that is enough. There are so many texts and calls and messages I may never be able to respond to them all, so I’m begging you to forgive me there and know that I’ve read them all and I can’t tell you how you’ve touched my heart and made us feel like it is possible to change the perception of a place, if you just share the light. Today we were given the key to the city and sat a few seats away from the governor of Mississippi and his darling wife, who are big Mississippi fans (obviously), but also big HGTV fans. It was a great honor that we are so grateful for. But we can’t fix everything. We can’t fix most things. We’re just two people and it takes a village to do something big. All we can do is tell you our story and what Laurel looks like from where we sit. And it’s a good place. It’s our family. This is what today looked like.

We went to the early service at church with my family.

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We went to the theatre for the screening.

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Where Governor Phil Bryant spoke on the creative economy in Mississippi.

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Jo was there! Well, sorta.

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Our friends and family and Laurel Main Street and cast and crew were there!

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We headed over to the historic train depot for the Home Town Homecomin’ thrown by Laurel Main Street, and it felt a whole lot like a wedding reception where we stood in one spot and took pictures with people in the receiving line for several hours. It was like my bad dream, where it’s the end of Big Fish and everyone you’ve ever known was there, except for a happy reason. I wore some cheap but cute Sam and Libby heels from Target and my feet never hurt. That’s the second best thing that happened today.

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Ben’s whole family came to see us and we broke it up into 3 pictures for some reason:

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And Mae Mae was there!

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And my dearest oldest friend, Hope was there!

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And Chief Tyrone Stewart was there! He couldn’t be at the screening and halfway through the homecomin’ party when I first saw him, I felt like I might cry. He’s been taking such watchful care over us since all this happened. He and his brother have been close to my family since they were teenagers when his brother Kim worked with my daddy at the hospital for years. When I worked at the mall in high school, Kim did part time night security and would always check in on me and walk me to my car if I had to close. When Baker went missing a few months ago, Tyrone called to tell me they’d given my runaway pup a police escort to the vet where he was safe and sound. When he went missing again a few weeks later, he had the police department put out the APB on a large, white, male great Pyrenees. When his sweet and brilliant daughter was finishing up college, she worked part time in daddy’s department just like her uncle Kim. We count the whole Stewart bunch to be like family and seeing him walk in made me choke up for just a second, feeling like “Superman is here!” before he hugged us and picked on us—talking about his favorite “celebrities.”

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My whole family was there too, but we didn’t organize enough for a picture somehow. Don’t that figure?! We went home and put on our old blue jeans and boots and headed over to Ross and Laura’s for a little after party on their now-famous porch and spent all night waving at the cars passing by as they honked, saying “hey y’all!” when neighbors would slow down to say they liked the show. There was Cheerwine and pizza and we all gathered in the living room and watched a replay of the show, seeing the Laurel bricks at our feet and on the TV. It was surreal. Like inception!

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We slowed down the credits and snapped pictures to send our friends who may have missed their names and deserve so much thanks.

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And we spent this day with the ones we love. In the place we love.

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Thank you so much, friends. By telling a story that’s full of love and hope, I think we all made something good today.


Erin

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

Daily Journal

39 thoughts on “#2,224 Home Town on HGTV.

  1. Loved your show! Loved it so much, I Googled you and found your website! WoooHoooooo! Looking forward to seeing more from you guys…both on screen and on your website! Congratulations on a fabulous first episode! (By the way, how awesome is Laurel?? What a sweet town!)

  2. We’re so proud and thankful in the way you’re representing our little corner of the world. You did good.

  3. Your show was sweet and lovely in every way. Thank you for sharing your town and talents with us. I hope it will be a regular thing.

  4. Loved the show. My wife and I are from Houston and four years ago I purchased an old Victorian home in Sharpsville PA for our tenth anniversary. It was just going to be a summer home, but we got hooked on the “Home Town” life style. We have so many good friends now and when we are there the large porch is the center of activity. We have acquired three additional properties on the block and in the process of restoring them. Your show is much more than a fixer up show, it is about how close relationships mixed with small town values can provide such a wonder life.

  5. Three generations of girls in my family snuggled up last night to watch Home Town. Our ages are 58, 32 and 7, we all loved it, we had recorded it because we were in church when it came on at noon. We ate soup and watched your sweet show, it was a party, tell HGTV we want more Home Town.

  6. The show was sweet, southern and just perfect. My husband and I loved it. HGTV would be crazy not to pick it up. Congrats on a great job.

  7. I absolutely loved the show, the house, your style and your town! Hope we get to see more. My husband does woodwork and especially liked your husband’s work! Our little small town could use some sprucing up! I hope this idea spreads!
    Vicki
    Your Sourthern Sister from Birmingham, AL (Pinson)

  8. Erin and Ben, the show was FABULOUS! We are 2 blocks down from Ross and Laura and very happy for them and ya’ll. My husband and I never sat down the entire show. My 10 year old Meredith and I watched it again later that evening and she asked me if I thought Mr. Ben could build her a desk. I told her I bet he could. Ya’ll are just precious people and I think The City Beautiful is behind ya’ll 110% to keep this going!!

    Hotty Toddy! Bill and Carolyn Ford

  9. Above and beyond all the attention our wonderful city received and my joy in what was done for Ross and Laura, I want to say “thank you” to you and Ben for being yourselves!!!!! People who don’t know you may not realize that they caught a brief glimpse of the real Ben and Erin that we Laurelites see every time we come in contact with you. I believe God has blessed you all because He knows your heart and you all allow the rest of us to know it as well. Can’t wait for the series – – no way HGTV will fail to pick it up.

  10. Congrats on your new show!! I am very happy i found Home Town and i love what you are doing for small towns….i have never lived in one, but it makes me want to!! Love your style and i have been trying to achieve the look for some time….maybe someday i will!!! Hope to see many more shows and perhaps i will travel to Laurel, MS

  11. Loved the show. Love Laurel and love you guys for being a light to the world and a positive representation of looking for the good in your on hometown.

  12. I have always loved Fixer Upper so when I heard Joanne at mentored y’all I knew I had to watch your show. It did not disappoint. You both seem so authentic & creative. Coming from a small town I never experienced the sense of community you have & it’s so enviable. I do hope your show gets picked for a series. Even if it doesn’t I think this process has opened many doors for you & Laurel! PS I saw you had Cheerwine at the after party. Cheerwine comes from Salisbury, NC which is the next town over from my town China Grove, NC:) Congratulations to all!

  13. I had been looking forward to your pilot since I read about it. My husband and I watched it together and absolutely loved it! It was more than a DIY show or the usual HGTV fair….it is a lifestyle, a restoration of homes that needed some love and care, a lesson in building community, bringing the young back to a simpler life….so much goodness in that pilot! It made us envious of that type of community that my husband began researching the area! We LOVED everything about it! You and Ben are a precious, God fearing couple and deserve the chance for this to be picked up by HGTV. Congratulations!

  14. You sure get alot of comments from Debbie’s who spell our name in all kinds of ways. Funny since I found your blog and started reading your blog back to Jan 1, 2010 (still in 2011….), I feel like I know you both personally. Blogs do that. Just wanted to comment again that we loved the show, loved y’all and pray you will get other shows. Love you from The Woodlands (TX)….not really a small town anymore but wishes it was!

  15. So enjoyed being a part of the day and seeing the excitement surrounding hometown. Great great job to all who participated. Was so excited to see on the show my friends hunter Mcleod and will Edwards and of course your seamstress karen rasberry, who is talented in both arts and athletics !

  16. The show was awesome. I hope they want to do more. So proud of you. Thanks for sharing your lives with us. (((HUGS)))

  17. I am ready to make a trip to Laurel & see this cute town & people!! I’m a Mississippi girl born & bred… I love how good you make us look, even though I don’t live in MS .. right now. Y’all are making me want to come back & get out of the rat race of big city life!! I y’all need some musicians anywhere?? ??? #byebyenashville

  18. Loved the show!
    Earlier in the week, I had asked members of an online group I am part of, HGTV Fixer Upper Show Followers, to watch the show. Imagine my surprise when, while watching the show, I saw my dad, Everette Boutwell, walking out of his office on Magnolia Street in the opening of the show. He died in June but was a big advocate for Laurel. He gave up the chance to move in order to stay close and help his family. He never turned down a client who couldn’t pay. I think he embodied the spirit of your show. Our whole family burst into tears when we saw him!
    I later told this story in the Fixer Upper Group, and over 4,000 people responded! So many people were touched by your love for Laurel and the miracle of God’s timing that allowed me to see my dad again.
    Thank you, thank you for such a lovely tribute to Laurel and all the amazing people who live there!

  19. So enjoyed your show, hoping you will be picked up as a series! Wonderful seeing my home town on tv!! Wishing you two the best!!

  20. We loved the show up here in Jackson! I’ve never been to Laurel but have lots of family friends that claim it as their hometown even though they’ve long since moved away. Great job, Mississippians!

  21. I think you’re doing such a fun thing. What a sweet blessing from the Lord to give you guys such a platform to the world to spread light & love. Praying big things for you guys as you navigate these crazy waters.

  22. I love the picture of y’all all at the LLT. May I have a copy? I am praying your show gets picked up. I look forward to you expanding and showing off other parts of Laurel. I love the drop cloth curtains! We are all so proud of you and Ben and everyone who helped from plumbing, electrical to the landscaping. I do have one question, what kind of critter was up in the rafters?

  23. Love the show, love your town, love your spirit and LOVE that jacket! I look forward to setting the series on my DVR, congrats to you both.

  24. Erin and Ben congrats!!! We are so proud of y’all and your show! You stand for everything good in Mississippi and we can’t wait to see more! So blessed for America to see what beautiful things are going on in our little piece of the world! Bless y’all!!

  25. I would normally be at church but stayed home with a cold, and to my delight, I got to see the premiere of your new show. I had never heard a word about it, and I am so glad I got to see it. I am already obsessed. Good luck! I can’t wait to see more.

  26. Erin and Ben, the show was absolutely wonderful…exceeded my expectations! I have no doubt wonderful things are in store for you and Laurel! You have made Mississippi proud!!

  27. Great show! Loved the cheerful renovation. Fun to see my High School Home Town on HGTV

    Joel Y. RH Watkins High 1974.

  28. Once upon a time back in the ’80s the husband and I lived in Laurel. I commuted to Waynesboro and he commuted to Hattiesburg. We can’t remeber where exactly we lived but I think it was on 8th street. I’ve tried to find the house on Google maps but it’s not there. I think the house must have been torn down or burned down. There’s an empty space where I think our house sat.
    I love your show and find myself looking for things I recognize from town. We were young and broke most of the time but had so many dates at Sawmill Square Cinemas and did our Christmas shopping there. Your show makes me a bit homesick for the Southern town charm. I’m so happy that Laurel has you guys and that the town is in revival. I have family that once worked there and family that lives in nearby Ellisville. Maybe the next time I’m in MS I can drive through and look around.

  29. Best of everything with your new show. I loved it! I’m so encouraged by your passion for what you do and you both are very talented! Can’t wait to see more. Good luck!

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