"Well I was born in a small town,

And I live in a small town.

Probably die in a small town.

Oh, those small communities …"

As a product of the 1980s, that decade's music means a great deal to me.

Each decade has made its mark from jazz and swing to rock and roll, country and so on. As the 1950s saw rock and roll's introduction with Buddy Holly and the Crickets and Elvis Presley, its evolution carried on into the '60s with The Beatles and Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.

Skipping over the disco disaster of the 1970s, the '80s period was my teenage music time from the "Beat It" and "Thriller" magic of Michael Jackson to Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Prince.

It was also a time when country music saw resurgence. Hank Williams, Jr., got new life and new fans. Alabama was a runaway train on the radio. New artists were popping up all over and joined in with classic artists like George Jones and Buck Owens to create new classics.

So, why this musical trip down my personal memory lane? I recently came across a CD (I don't download music) of John Mellencamp's titled "Scarecrow." That album, particularly the song "Small Town," touches on so much that is rural America - uncertainty, hope, ideals and identity. And it is currently in my car's CD player.

Instead of turning on the radio, I've taken to playing that CD as I head to work in the mornings. It kind of sets my mind on the task at hand, which is covering these aspects of our community life in the pages of the newspaper you are holding right now or perhaps are viewing on your computer or phone.

News - at all levels - does address uncertainties we face; the "not-knowing" what will happen or where we will be from day to day. That's life. And that has to be written about and discussed.

But I don't believe those stories should be the anchor of our paper because uncertainty doesn't hold down our community.

I believe Mayfield and Graves County are full of hope and ideals and those are at the root of our communal identity. Sure, we have struggles and failures but we also look to see the possibilities for the future. Our front page today tells that tale.

That's my commitment to you through these pages of The Mayfield Messenger as its news editor. We'll address what we need to and what we can, because that's at the soul of our mission and profession. But we will also strive to spotlight the parts that make Mayfield and Graves County special. That's our mission, too.

I'm a product of a small town, not this small town and not a small town around here. But most small towns have those similar bonds. I've cried in the small towns I've lived in, but there's no doubt I've laughed a whole lot more.

"Well I was born in a small town

And I can breathe in a small town.

Gonna die in this small town

And that's probably where they'll bury me …"

Eric Walker is news editor for The Mayfield Messenger. He can be reached at ewalker@mayfield-messenger.