Issue 32, August 9, 2015

While growing up in Kentucky, my family spent many Christmas breaks travelling down the brand-new I-75 and the Florida’s Turnpike to Broward County to visit my grandparents.  I remember seeing signs for Jacksonville, but I never could get dad to make that detour.
True Story: Since the age of 10 years old, I’ve always wanted to move to Jacksonville.  I’d never been here and knew very little about the city (like that it had paper mills).  But I always wanted to live here.  So, why Jacksonville?  
1973 was the release of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first album and also my first LP record purchase.  I bought it with money I earned from mowing the neighbor’s lawns.  (Coincidentally, that’s the same mower I later destroyed running over a manhole in tall grass: see the 6/21 President’s message.)
Anyway, I scoured the lyrics and the photos inside of the band members on stage.  I could relate to the message of each song.  I studied the album cover photo and decided: these were my people!!  I later learned that the 1st album’s cover photo was actually shot in Jonesboro GA…I felt a little deceived.  Regardless, I still had Annie take a photo of me holding the album at the exact spot, earlier this year.

Fast forward through high school, the Army, and college.  As a young professional, I had the CHOICE as to where I made my abode.  Jacksonville kept gnawing at me to move here.  So, Jacksonville it was!!
In retrospect, I believe that when you want something enough, you will always find a way to make it work.  And that’s what I’ve found in this city.  I am lucky that my lovely bride (and your SBMC Chairman), is from the River City and sees no reason to live elsewhere.  This is our home, but it’s not perfect…
I hear people state that we can’t support an NFL team, but they’ll watch the Jags on TV.  I see commenters (on local news websites), who say nothing ever happens downtown (they should have been at Art Walk last Wednesday evening).  It irritates me to hear people complain about Duval schools or road conditions and their hour-long commute, when their tax dollars go to another county.  It annoys me when someone complains about something…anything…and offers no suggestion as to how to improve it.
As the saying goes: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
Each one of us has a responsibility to become involved in our community.  We have a vested interest as to what goes on in city hall, the quality of education in our schools, and the happenings our own neighborhoods.
I thank every one of you who’ve played your part in making Jacksonville a better place to live.


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