Dec. 10, 2008
By Roger Emile Stouff

Someone called me Friday afternoon to inquire about the Toys for Tots drive locally.

I shamefully admitted it hadnít occurred to me that I had seen nothing on the annual event.

I did read about a Marine Reserve Band performance in Morgan City at the auditorium, which was a Toys For Tots event. I guess I just Ė wrongly Ė assumed thereíd be a similar event over here, just like we used to have those huge ones at a local car dealership showroom every year.

I inquired, and I know what happened, and how it happened. Whatís done is done.

However, a distribution has been set for Saturday at the South Louisiana Community College on Perret Street.

I wholeheartedly commend the Rotary Club for participating in the drive and accomplishing what they did.

But boy, did we miss out on the publicity allowing the public to participate and donate.

Still, at least it got done to some extent. Whatís troubling me most is that an east-end event was organized and publicized in this newspaper and other placesÖbut nobody Ė including myself Ė thought to ask, "Hey, what are we doing over here?"


I come back to an earlier assertion that continues to prove itself true: The "movers and shakers" of this community have vanished, gone the way of the dodo bird and the carrier pigeon, I guess.

And thatís just a shame.

There were a handful of people that kept excitement and enthusiasm and involvement at all-time highs in Franklin for many years. One by one, theyíve either moved away or vanished from the public eye, and nobodyís taken up their torch.

I was talking to someone the other day, someone I consider an important "mover and shaker" in this community, who was pretty frustrated by a certain situation. He said he sees how itís easier just to dig a hole in the dirt and say, "Leave me alone."

But we canít do that. We might as well bury this whole city and extended community.

I guess Iíve preached too much. I must be sounding like the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons, "Mwwwhaa bwhaa mwwwhaa mwwwhaa." Nobody seems to be listening. Nobody seems to be trying.

Weíre squabbling over lamppost decorations for Harvest Moon and Christmas, for Christís sake. The Harvest Moon decorating event was such a mess the boulevard is practically bare, two weeks from Christmas, sucked lifeless by the fiasco of November. What do you expect? Even besides the unfortunate Harvest Moon events, the talk of disenfranchising the community from participating in the boulevard decorations is a punch in the gut to the people who were really taking pride in doing it.

Weíre doing nothing constructive. Nothing. Instead of building, weíre tearing apart.

Our old cheerleaders arenít coming out of the woodwork to renew their crusades for the betterment of west St. Mary; no great generators of excitement are coming forth to take up their baton,

And to top it all off, we just up and forgot about Toys For Tots on this end of the parish this Christmas.

This is going to be a short column. I just donít have the heart for any more. Iím so disappointed. Iím all out of words. All out of cheers and all out of quips.

Call me a girlie-man. But I could just weep for us all.

Yeah. Itís easy to bury ourselves in the ground and say, "Leave me alone." Iím getting tired and frustrated myself. Maybe itís time to give up on this community. Move on. Let it dwindle away to nothingness, or at best, subsist as some shadowy reflection of what it once was and could be again. Just invest my time and my energy on my little home on the Rez, fly fish, hike, build boats, make myself a nice cozy little sanctuary and quit worrying about people who donít care about themselves.

Other than my little group of visionaries continuing to work on our project, nobody seems to want to come forth. We have no backbone, no vision and no hope. The people who used to inspire this community have abandoned it, and the potential heroes among us leave their swords and shields dusty and unused. We have no leadership, and donít you dare let me hear you complain about the east end of the parish getting all the non-publicly funded goodies. Yeah, thatís right, I said it: They deserve it, after allís said and done, because they give a damn.

I give. Iím defeated. Satisfied? Itís easier just to give in and cry uncle.

Why not? Everybody else does.