First things first.

My heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Brent Allain and Mayor Raymond Harris for addressing and handling a wildfire-potential situation with courtesy, directness and like gentlemen during Tuesdayís meeting of the Franklin City Council.

The ongoing saga of the boulevard cut on Main Street may not be over, though we can hope that it is put to rest. Dr. Allain expressed his regrets over the matter, his case and his requests succinctly and fairly. The mayor, saying heíll press the state highway department to put City Hall into their informational loop, did the same.

Now. Letís move on.

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So Iím wondering.

Iím wondering when, after Thanksgiving, all the storefronts along Main Street are going to be adorned with more Christmas lights than you can stand to look at?

So I keep asking myself, wouldnít all the plantation houses along East Main looked simply divine similarly bedecked?

Iím wondering, when is this heralded boulevard of ours going to suddenly blossom with displays and decorations as we approach the Christmas lighting season?

Even the courthouse has its lights up. Yíall gonna let the courthouse show you up?

Many of you say youíre for a progressive Franklin. You say youíre for a cultural and historic Franklin. You say "somebody ought to do something" to make Franklin better.

What, then, are you waiting for?

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A local businessman recently put up a guestbook for customers to sign.

Youíd be shocked how many out-of-state and, yes, visitors from abroad signed that little book in just a couple weeks.

Some of us, who would rather keep Franklin a private haven in the sole proprietorship of the landed gentry will gasp in horror that there are such weaknesses in our defenses.

But itís true. Folks are actually coming to visit Franklin and enjoying it despite ourselves.

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Congratulations, as well, to the candidates in the election Nov. 17.

While I found some of the tactics and mud slinging downright reprehensibleÖagain, letís move on.

Weíre expecting good things from you. Productive things, progressive things, and above all, thinking outside the box. Consider this the dawning of a new age: The things we wanted and thought we needed in the past may not necessarily be what we want now, or even be good for us.

Pay attention. Be receptive to ideas. And above all, remember who you work for. Weíll be reminding you of that regularly, and I, at least, will be holding various pairs of feet to the fire to make sure their owners bear their employment status in mind.

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We donít do turkey for Thanksgiving.

Listen, itís nothing personal against pilgrims or anything. My dad didnít like turkey so Mom didnít fix it, and I guess consequently I just never developed a taste for it. Usually Mom makes a special dish which has no official name but Dad and I just referred to as The Stuff, but weíve been branching out as of late.

I cooked a gumbo, and my brother brought Ďtater salad and a delicious spinach and cheese stuffed bread. My girl brought a chocolate cake and dinner rolls.

People have mixed feelings on my gumbos. I did chicken, sausage and okra this time. I also do seafood, as well as the ultimate, "everything but the kitchen sink" gumbo.

I like a thick, dark roux. I mean on the verge of black, you hear? Iíll baby that mix under a medium heat in my great-grandmotherís black iron pot until itís nearly black as the pot. Throw in the onions and thatís really to me the ultimate moment. It never smells better than that moment when you throw the onions in a hot roux, far as Iím concerned. Yum.

Since the weather turned cooler, it was a perfect course for the holiday.

African slaves brought okra to America. In one of their native dialects, their word for okra was "gumbo" hence the evolution of that name from a vegetable to a complete entrée. It is more African in origin than Cajun, with a Creole intervention but later being associated more the Cajun culture than any other.

Whatever you think of it, a gumbo is probably a food group all on itís own. Itís got just about everything a person needs in a healthy, well-rounded diet. Except maybe bananas. Now, if I could figure out how to incorporate bananas into a gumboÖ