December 30, 1997
As we await the arrival of another new year, with its promise of better things for all, let's think of some good wishes for our friends and neighbors. Here are a few ideas for starters. You won't find much that's new or even original in this list, but I believe these are some of the things that are on people's minds today.
To our friends in Stagecoach Community Theatre, we wish for larger audiences at each production and an infusion of new vigor from folks who thus far have been too bashful to take part on the stage or behind the scenes. From our own experience we can testify that working in Stagecoach is fantastic fun and brings one into contact with interesting people of all ages. Our little theatre is a valuable commodity, friends, and it merits your participation. And bigger audiences always challenge the performers to stretch a little more, so at least be sure to buy a ticket and attend every offering from Stagecoach. When the next audition is called, give it a shot. You've nothing to lose, and you might gain a lot.
To Mayor Hollingsworth and the city council, a fond hope that they can find the answers to some perplexing questions in 1998. Among these are an acceptable and workable solution to the impending water crisis in our city. One possibility, Stillwater's Lake McMurtry, which ironically is mostly in Noble county, has been ruled out by lack of enthusiasm in both Stillwater and Perry, even though it held great promise initially. Let's hope the next alternative, whatever that proves to be, is subjected to honest debate on its merits without the need for personalities being injected.
Here's hoping also that the new courthouse park street lights can be finally turned on so we can fully enjoy the results of that project. Let's hope the job can be finished quickly. Ditto the downtown traffic lights. Why do we have to endure those blinking red lights and ugly barrels in the intersections for such unbelievable extended periods? It seems to happen only in Perry.
May a speedy completion be the watchword when work begins on the renovation at Perry Memorial Hospital and the repair of city streets, the two items OK'd by local voters earlier this year when we imposed a higher sales tax upon ourselves. We have many really bad potholes in streets where temporary patches have been applied in the past. It's going to be interesting to see how the repair program is prioritized. Not a job many of us would want. The improvements at Memorial Hospital cannot come too soon to alleviate an awkward situation in the admissions area and the emergency room.
We also wish all good things to our local U.S. Postal Service folks. During the busiest part of the Christmas rush, they were unfailingly prompt in making deliveries and courteous in dealing with lines of weary patrons at the post office windows. In the midst of all this, contract workman were building a new ramp for the disabled on the north side of the post office building and remodeling the interior to accommodate a new door for those who will be using that ramp. Other servers who rate a pat on the back for faithful performance of duties the past few weeks are the Davis Sanitation crews who picked up our trash even on the holidays. Many others in various vocations and professions sacrificed their holidays in order to keep things running smoothly for the rest of us. To all of them, and they know who they are, we say "thanks" and extend our wish for peace and happiness in their lives.
To our local ministers, choir members, lay leaders and others, including youngsters and adults who put on pageants clad as sheperds, sheep wise men, and so on, to all who labored so hard to give us a meaningful and beautiful Christmas season (and that includes those who erected those magnificent lighted displays outdoors), we have no real way to express our appreciation adequately. But bless you, just the same, and please be assured that we enjoyed what you did.
A low bow, a tip of the fedora and best wishes also to the men and women of the Perry Development Coalition, Perry Main Street organization, Perry Chamber of Commerce and all other similarly oriented organizations and people who are laboring to keep Perry attractive and prosperous. Those I have named constitute only a small, but important, portion of the ones who contribute time, money and effort into worthwhile civic betterment here. Let's be sure their work does not go unnoticed.
Best wishes of the holiday season to volunteers who serve at every level -- the ladies who do hair at the nursing homes, staffers at our YMCA, Perry Carnegie Library, Cherokee Strip Museum, those involved in school-related matters (including school board members), to all those who labor anonymously at Green Valley, Smith Retirement Center and the Perry Nursing Home, Operation Blessing, Head Start, the Wheatheart Nutrition Center, the Methodist soup kitchen, the Senior Citizens Center, Perry Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and Candy Stripers, and to all the others not already named here.
To families and individuals experiencing problems of health or stress of any kind, here's hoping relief is found for you in the days ahead. Special mention to the more than 1,000 men and women who make up the Ditch Witch "family." They, starting at the top with Ed and Mary Malzahn, are the very models of good citizenship. We wish all of them new frontiers to conquer as they continue to design, build and market the worlds best underground construction equipment. Their contribution to this community is of inestimable value. And to those who take the time to read these rambling, sometimes whimsical, scribbles twice each week, my personal thanks. Some of what belongs to folks at Exchange Bank & Trust for making these essays possible. May this be the best new year for all of us, with world peace, harmony, prosperity, good cheer, and plenty to eat each day for everyone!