Growing up in small-town Athens, Tennessee, I used to beg my mama to let me get Glamour Shots. All my friends were doing it, and their parents would proudly frame and hang the expensive prints in the most trafficked areas of their homes—usually in the hallway or the bathroom. I spent many hours after school in front of my vanity, practicing my pose. Big hair and sparkling blue eyeshadow loomed large in my mind for years, but my mama never gave in.

I thought I was over the disappointment, but earlier this summer, I read a story in the Daily Yonder that brought back all the feelings. Contributor Tracy Staley wrote about her own exhilarating and ultimately disappointing experience with glamour transformation in the 1990s at an Eastern Kentucky Super 8 Motel.

“You walked away with glossy 8x10s of the moment to remember forever and with the knowledge: This is who I could be.” Yes, Tracy, yes!

In the midst of a pandemic, we need accurate and reliable information to help us carry on with our lives, but we also need humor, humanity, and a soft place to land, so we don’t lose our minds.

I credit the Daily Yonder for many things:

  • for keeping us thoroughly informed about the affects of Covid-19 in small towns and rural places;
  • for providing swift and accurate coverage of the rural vote in the latest election cycle;
  • and for partnering with the Rural Assembly to produce its first-ever virtual gathering, Rural Assembly Everywhere.

Across all of these things, the Yonder is a source for sanity in the midst of a storm. Articles like “Glamour Shots at the Super 8 Motel” remind us that there are a lot more things that connect us than divide us. Like sparkles and perms.

If you’ve had similar moments, where Daily Yonder stories have brought you hope, helped you feel connected, or simply made you smile or laugh, I encourage you to join me today in making a contribution

Through the end of the year, your gift can go twice as far thanks to NewsMatch, which matches donations to nonprofit newsrooms around the country. To take advantage of this opportunity to double your donation, all you have to do is give today in any amount.

Thanks for being part of this growing community. 


Your contribution is appreciated.

Contributions from individuals are eligible to be matched up to $5,000 per individual from November 1 to December 31, 2020, to a combined total of $11,500. The Daily Yonder is a project of the Center for Rural Strategies, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Gifts may be tax deductible; consult your tax adviser for more information.