Spring: An attitude adjustment time
Sally and I returned to Meridian Friday evening after a week on the road. One of those combination business and pleasure trips to the midwest. Spring had not yet arrived in the rolling hills of the eastern Ohio River valley.
The towns clinging to the hillsides along the river remind me of places fed by railways and interstate highways. The facilities which serve bypassers tell tales of the progression of transportation "ways" from river to rail to road.
Some of us view our downtown renewal as a window on Meridian's economic energy as the 20th century dawned. In a parallel way river towns offer glimpses of 18th and 19th century development. Old river towns tell tales of the evolution from pioneer trade centers serving farm economies to more complex industrial based economies.
And on the slopes of the rolling hills behind the riverfront towns are farms which speak of better days. One can readily understand the desire of pioneer farm families to move further westward to the flat and fertile plains along the southern Ohio River Valley or even the Mississippi and Missouri River valleys. Or better yet southward to the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. Daniel Boone had it right.
But it was good Friday morning to find spring had arrived in Meridian. I even put on a short sleeve shirt to celebrate the season. While pollen does impact my breathing, it is a welcome sight. Lifts my spirit and even mellows my views. By golly, the glass is more than half full.
It seemed, therefore, a good time to offer some spring resolutions. To define a list of topics that will get no jaded observations from yours truly. Can you believe it?
My number one spring resolution is to not use William Jefferson Clinton's name in a column for the next six months. Maybe that way I can more carefully attend to the foibles of his successor. You know, that guy who talks out of the middle of his mouth. But as was said of the late Barry Goldwater in 1964, "in your heart you know he's right."
Next, in second place on my spring list is to forget the duplication of effort represented by the county road patrol system. No more carping about our bizarre system of providing personal pot hole patrollers for each supervisor. I resolve to let that sleeping dog slumber on for at least five months.
Could I have some nominations for the next most illogical example of local government inefficiency? Just so I'll have something to write about.
My third resolve is not to think about Meridian's population decline for at least four months. That's right, I'll not attempt to calculate how much longer it will take for Meridian to collapse or implode or whatever it is we're allowing to happen.
I do plan to share a wild idea or two for drawing people to our community. I'm especially excited about the emerging possibility that downtown Meridian will again be vital and vibrant.
Fourth, no fussing about mediocre schools. For two or three months. At least not in this forum. Actually that one is easy. How many of our schools have risen to a level beyond poor to ordinary? Too few. In the language of the state education establishment, how many of our local schools are approaching Level 5?
If experience is a proper guide, issues of nonachievement will still be here sixty days hence. Certainly I can wait a few weeks to remount that horse.
Finally, I resolve to withhold comment about potholes in the City of Meridian. For at least six weeks. Maybe the board of supervisors and the city council can do a deal to allow in-town pot hole reporting by those law enforcement officers I've resolved to not write about.
What an idea! Extend the responsibility of the patrolmen to include the streets serving the people who pay a majority of the property taxes supporting their jobs. That sounds good enough to revive six months from now.
In the meanwhile, nothing but daisy planting from this out of step geezer.
Bill Scaggs is president emeritus at Meridian Community College and a senior consulting editor for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at email@example.com.