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Editorial for July 30, 2014

Welcome Home Seniors of ’79!

Towns grow. Good ones do. Last week there was a reunion of sorts for the GHS Graduating Class of 1979. Many of them still live around here, but the ones who returned after many years away enjoyed seeing new sights. I was asked to serve as their tour guide as I am only slightly older and knew pretty much what would be new to them.  Bruce Linam gave them a tour of the new facilities at the High School. They remembered the Administration Building as our Junior High School and the Old Rock Gym really amazed them. (Anyone who remembers those old locker rooms would be amazed.) The Performing Arts Center drew the most aaahs.

It was my pleasure show them the rest of the town in an air conditioned bus. We went to Bell Park, visited the other school campuses, toured the Town Square’s Veterans Memorial and saw new sights like the landmark Bell Tower at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, the Coal Miners Memorial and the Eagle Scout projects that dot Greenwood.  The Class of 1979 seemed to be pleased with the way their hometown had been taken care of in their absence.

Greenwood has grown in many ways since that class left town. We have every conceivable type of fast food. We have a Wal-Mart. We have legendary athletics. We have dances on the school campus. I’m not sure which of those amazed those alumni the most!  Those may not be the things by which communities measure their progress, but, taken as a whole, it’s easy to see that our community is moving in the right direction. Many will remember when Greenwood teams played Mansfield and Waldron, some will remember when the best athletes came out of Jenny Lind, when stores closed on Sunday and the price of gas was not a factor in planning your day. Thank you, Class of 1979 for a nice afternoon talking about my favorite subject.

A light remembered

During my years as a child in Greenwood, I remember that Bud Corbin kept a sort of soft pink colored light on in the funeral home at night. It was always on…like someone was home…or would be coming home. Being a dear friend of the family he was glad to answer when I asked him why he did that. He thought it appropriate under the circumstances that a light be left on. He said no more than that, but, I got the message and some insight into Bud Corbin.  There was another funeral home landmark light that could always be counted and never flickered…even during a couple of years of intense grief and will be sorely missed.

Honored Parents

Myra and James Burgess have raised a fine family. They have been givers and not takers. They taught their children that practice…be good Christians, be good citizens, be good stewards, good servants and good friends. Hundreds of Greenwood kids have known their hospitality and witnessed the type of parents they are. Now it’s official. They are Arkansas’ 2014 “Parents of the Year” and I join all those whom they had a hand in raising in saying, “Congratulations. A tribute well earned.”

Summer Sizzles/Drizzles to a Close

The wettest summer anyone remembers is drawing to a close and the County Fair is coming to town. I remember the summer of 2007 when Greenwood had water flowing over the dam in August. It was so rare. It was so crucial. We were so lucky. The year before had seen water rationing. I never felt so lucky as to see those puddles all over town and we didn’t have to ration water while awaiting the completion of a new water plant and the James Fork Water District tie-on.

This wet summer has seen flies all over the place, weeds taking over street rights of way and lawn maintenance folks grinning ear to ear.

The rains will stop. It will get hot again and, just as sure as football season approaches, another summer of travels, gardens, Freedomfest and Freon servicing will be added to our community’s history.  That will be followed by a season of campaigning, promising and vote gathering. It’s as perennial as football and as much fun to watch…for some.

There are three seats open for election on the City Council, two candidates considering the City Clerk’s position, potential mayoral candidates talking and a community that can go either way hangs in the balance. Progress is one of those things that is inert. It is much easier to keep it going than it is to start it going again.

Everywhere we are reminded that ours is a town people want to come back to. The “Legends” story is about that. The Burgesses being honored is about that. On the seniors of ’79 I saw faces that said, “I’m so glad I stayed here”, or “I wish I had stayed here” or “I can’t wait to get back here when I can.”

This is a town our children want to return to. There’s reason for that and huge responsibility goes with it. Remaining the best place to raise a family means that we make a community-wide, all out, don’t-vary-from-it commitment in our town’s kids. It’s time we step up and show our resolve to spend money where it matters, to get involved where it matters and avoid any appearance that kids are taking a backseat to anything else in this town.

I will issue a challenge soon to the civic clubs and especially to those in and seeking public office to commit resources to kids as we have all learned from the “growing-pains-proof” that it builds a better Greenwood, Arkansas, where I remain,

Yours for kinder tomorrow,

Kenneth Lawton Edwards, Editor  

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