It has been a while, changes at both the paper and in life rendered some confusion in how this blog would continue. I have decided to simply keep typing. I debated this, after having written about Ardmore living over the past couple of years, I wasn't sure there was much left to say, or that another [...]
It has been a while, changes at both the paper and in life rendered some confusion in how this blog would continue. I have decided to simply keep typing. I debated this, after having written about Ardmore living over the past couple of years, I wasn't sure there was much left to say, or that another voice might not better say it.
But the past few weeks have given me some oomph. I have found new restaurants and passions renewed in former favorites. Run across local business owners discussing new visions and have found increased collaboration among our merchants. The desire to make Ardmore an experience continues to grow as a goal and understood ingredient of a thriving community. We are bringing back what we had lost, the local downtown feel of knowing who you buy from.
Our country has been so lost of late, swinging from one battle to the next, overloaded by promises from folks whose personae sometimes crowd out our common sense. Our fears have been triggered by media well equipped to know just what sentence to say, which words provoke, and what buttons to push.
Puppetry of politics at its finest moment of lost ideas, identity crisis, and conflicting concepts.
Maybe returning to Main street is one answer. Main street used to be where folks in town gathered during a crisis, where they shopped and asked banks for help, where tailors were just behind the desk, a custom line in an outfit a series of conversations and a pick up date. Main street used to harbor secrets of underground tunnels and items moved in darkness, sometimes it still does, the merchants of midnight taking one generations idea of bootleg and morphing it into modern day gang economics.
Main street is where colors became one humanity. A counter and cup of coffee, dignity in service.
We are at a point where our desire to connect with the world has eroded a bit of our economics, this strain has brought about fears of our future, doomsday reports of an extinct workforce of humans.
I think we are forgetting it is our demand of goods that drive the market, but we have to take back our minds to do so.
Local sourcing is a term we need to add to our vocabulary. What if restaurants could buy meat from local ranchers, if stores bought clothes from local designers, if youth could make money from being creative. What if co-ops could be hubs for small businesses, offering the space to build the dream. Booth rent free.
If we understood our grocery stores and restaurants could donate food without fear of lawsuits…because they can…today, now this minute. They could get a tax write off. People could have food. Hunger on weekend and evenings solved.
If we built bike paths across town to make cars unnecessary and improve community health due to ease of navigation by foot. Creating a slower pace of life. A less expensive one.
Bartering systems for working on plumbing and electrical so the poor and working poor could improve home without breaking the bank. So warm and cool temps can exist despite weather conditions could be a reality in homes across our community.
If we had a system that notified of mentally ill, immediately, in encounters, reducing misinterpretation of a persons behavior when a crisis erupts. We have attempts now, but fluidity of communication would make it safer for both our officers and ourselves.
Improving our local sex education to expand into healthy sexuality so our youth and families understand themselves and can better utilize family planning methods, comprehensive of prevention and options should unwanted or nonplanned pregnancy occur, as well as recreational safety.
Creating a cooking program again at SOTC and a servers certificate, creating a line of employable workers who could be paid a higher wage for having certified training in customer service whether dining or retail. Creating a community that tips well for good service.
Understanding what that means.
Of attending events offered in our community, rather than lamenting what we do not have.
Which brings me to Main Street, last night.
Walking through the doors of the convention center, I saw old friends and met new ones. Talked with recent newcomers to our community, discussed their hopes and fears about calling Ardmore home. Assured them they could be diverse, non religious, and open minded and find a home in our town. That they could enjoy art and music, and named some places to do so. Assured them our food trucks would tantalize their taste buds. Our local music would cater to both their 1980′s flashback of rock and roll bliss, or tango across floors they sipped wine. Met a woman who has opened a venue on East Main…Main street. Her hopes for creating the heartbeat of a community, sewn. Investing in our towns diversity of business owners.
The dividing lines of time are fading. We should finish erasing those lines.
We have authors with published works who sip coffee and say hello. Artists painting emotion, photographing sensation, illustrating their experiences into stories on canvas and wood. We have local artisans of home design, building furniture from recycled trash, creating beauty.
We have public relations speakers like Adam, whose calling may have been a stand up comedian in another life. Maybe one day we will have an open mic venue and he will step on stage locally. We have dreamers who keep signing up to board committees and projects, trying to pull and push our dreams into reality.
They need our support.
This year, make changes, shop locally. Eat locally. Ask for better service, appreciate when it arrives without ever being summoned. Speak kindly to one another, realize if we were all facing a fire, we would not care the citizenship of the person holding the bucket of water we needed. Educate yourself on issues beyond the newscasts. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Be cautious when a speaker inflames your fear…breathe deep. Walk away and think about the world you are being fed.
Those who fuel fear are not what leaders are made of.
Those who deny what common sense can show, don't make any better leaders.
Realize the idea of parties is dying. Those lines are fading too.
I left the event having witnessed a great love of fifty years honoring our town in their grandest gift of celebration. My father bought my mother an airplane ride on a vintage Boeing, taking off from a private strip, nestled amidst our mountain range. Her eyes sparkled as she imagined the thrill.
I am lucky to witness these moments, parents falling in love all over again.
Small towns are made up of what we dream.
Romance exists in small towns, the kind of stuff movies are made of.