This is, of course, the annual "From the Other Side Thanksgiving Special" column.
This year Iíd like to talk about some things Iím thankful for, and in addition, Iíd like to discuss some things Iíd be thankful for, if they were so.
Iím very thankful that after eight weeks in various medical facilities and despite the best efforts of some of them to the contrary, my mom is at home and recuperating back toward full mobility. It was a rough two months for her, and for me, but weíre almost to the home stretch now.
Iím thankful as well that the Mayor and Council of the City of Franklin have demonstrated their ability to get along and show genuine leadership in their positions. Now, before you meet me on the street and say, "But what aboutÖ" or "Well, they did/didnítÖ" let me point out that I donít think thereís ever been a public official who was 100 percent liked and approved of. Certainly there are things needing taking care of in this city, but theyíre not going to all happen overnight, and we are all relieved that the bickering and shenanigans are gone from the television cameras. We are thankful that giant strides are being made toward addressing infrastructure needs in Franklin. We are thankful that the mayor, council, department heads and employees have put out many brushfires that had been smoldering for too long, and have roped in wildly out of control beasts such as illegal water customers and much more.
Iím grateful to the folks who organized and put on the Harvest Moon Fest in October and the Main Street program a couple weeks ago. Harvest Moon has grown from a small venue to a well-attended, well-respected event that all of the city and surrounding area looks forward to, reminiscent of the street fairs of yesteryear but without the inherent problems those events used to incur.
In the "I would be thankful if " box, I would be remiss if I didnít mention itís time to quit dallying around with the industrial park on the Baldwin Canal and get that thing turned over to the port commission. Thereís been too many delays, and too many missed opportunities. Letís get going.
Also in the "if only" box, itís kinda sad to note the newfound peace, harmony and good works at city hall yet we find chaos and discontent at the courthouse. The eight weeks I spent visiting my mother in New Iberia had the effect of making me a little ill in my stomach, not because of the smell of hospital food, but for the lively, progressive and productive condition of Iberia Parish. It seems to me that parish government is spending more energy these days on debating trailer parks than it is trying to keep pace with our neighbors. Sad. Very sad.
This isnít a new thing. Itís been gnawing at my gut for awhile. Iíd be very thankful if we could recognize that other than its proximity to Lafayette, Iberia Parish has nothing on St. Mary Parish except maybe some clear vision and motivation. Iíd be grateful if we would recognize that people come here often and fall in love with our parish, and some of them actually decide to stay, take involvement in St. Mary Parish, do things to make it better than it was. Theyíre welcome here and weíre excited about the things theyíve done here, but it shouldnít take newcomers to get excited and motivated about St. Mary Parish.
We clearly and decisively need to be advertising, selling and marketing St. Mary Parish in the appropriate magazines, trade shows and expos. Iíd be thankful if folks in the seats of power would quit using that tired, worn-out phrase, "I think weíre going to see great things in the coming year." Weíve been hearing that since 1986, gang, and itís kinda losing its romance. Weíve been standing at the altar waiting for 20 years, somebody better kiss us soon.
Let me be careful to point out that this is not a slap on any one person in parish government. This is a slap at all of parish government. Letís quit bickering over turf battles, who did what to whom, whatís in it for me, and get back down to the business of making St. Mary Parish the envy of our neighbors, not the other way around.
Iím thankful for a hurricane season that was at best non-eventful. I think we can pretty much say now that hurricane forecasters are not any better than your basic gypsy caravan of crystal ball or palm readers.
Iím thankful for great friends, a great fiancée, a great bunch of co-workers at a great job, a great cat and a great dog. Other than a new fly rod, what more can a guy really want?
Happy Thanksgiving. Letís hope by the next time we celebrate it, weíll have more to be thankful for than lip service.