I love my life. At the age of fifty-two, I have figured out enough of the game to make the coin turn heads up more times than not. Most of the time, positive thinking and smiling through life is all it takes, so I try my hardest to enjoy each moment and be grateful for what I have. But I am a realist, too, and I know I will have to fight, now and then, for my right to live life my way.
I live in a country where one voice can be heard. Many people would disagree, and it is for them that I write today, for I have proof. I have proof that one voice can be heard.
I live just outside a small town of 3,500 people. Like most small towns, this one struggles to grow these days. With the decision makers being a mere handful of business owners and relatives of founders of the city, many conflicts of interest occur. And although the city tries, many decisions are made with vested interests. I would imagine many of our great country’s small towns are like that. It’s no one’s fault, and all we can do is keep it to a minimum by trusting in the goodness of people.
In this little town, a prominent man passed away, leaving a veritable treasure to the city. This piece of land was an old rock quarry, and this quarry sat along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. The old man that owned this property spent much of his life working on this abandoned piece of the past, refurbishing the quarry into a walk down memory lane. With buildings and shops set in the 1800s, this quarry was a virtual copy of life before things got so busy. Inside this canyon was an active blacksmith shop, a general store, an authentic schoolhouse, and a church. Off in one corner of the canyon, the creek toppled over the limestone walls, into a small pond where the old water-powered mill ground corn.
The city inherited this work of art, free of charge, and the city promptly hired a caretaker. The caretaker and his family moved into the small house just above the quarry only a few years ago. The caretaker and his wife have done a great job refurbishing the canyon, and the committee that was formed quickly found a way to get people to come and enjoy this great attraction.
So last week, the committee had an event called “Beggars’ Night.” The caretaker kept the little pot bellied stoves fired up, warming each building for the sight-seers. Deep orange lighting adorned the pathways along the trails from one shop to the next. Volunteers dressed in period clothing, seeming to be living the life of old. Hot cocoa was served in the general store, and candy was given out to over 1,000 children of all ages. In all, it was estimated that over 1,500 people showed up for this four-hour event.
In their effort to find a parking space outside the quarry, many people parked along the west side of the cul-de-sac, where “No Parking” signs were in place. And in an effort to keep the road clear and manageable, the police issued tickets to over twenty-eight cars parked in the “No Parking” areas.
That night, one of the ticketed event attendees posted a comment on Facebook about what he thought was an injustice. In his words, “There was just nowhere else to park.” He also stated that he would pay the ticket, but just wanted the parking issue addressed for future events. He stayed positive, even though he was hurt by the insensitivity of his town. But he spoke out. He spoke out for change. He spoke out to better the future for his town.
As you can imagine, this little community erupted on both the social media and at City Hall. Immediately, as the town heard of the tickets, the police chief came under fire, then the town mayor was drawn in.
Within a day, an emergency meeting of the city council was called, wherein they decided to rescind the tickets.
Was the city at fault here? I don’t think so, for when you park in a “No Parking” area, you are officially at fault. But these elders of our community stood up, and they did the right thing. They saw this issue through the eyes of another, and they voted with compassion in their hearts. The city is now looking into new parking remedies, and they will be ready for the next event.
And one person started pulling a chain that moved a city. One man created a positive change. One voiced was heard.
We live in a great nation, folks. We have a responsibility to create change for the better. It is our duty to fight for what is right. The things we fight for will protect the rights of our children and possibly their children.
So, even if you are sick and tired of politics, even if you don’t think your vote will make a difference, you still have to fight.
It’s our duty to vote, for we are shaping the nation for the ones that follow.
See you next week.