I’ve written that I grew up listening to my parents sing while sitting in the back seat of the car. One of those songs was The Sunny Side of the Street Click Here for Willy Nelson to put you in the right mood for this blog post. https://youtu.be/m6DJdiPQmGc
When I’m wandering around Main Street and through the neighborhoods, I see preservation, restoration and repurposing going on. I hum, grab you coat and get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep – just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street. The song renews my enthusiasm for the successful reimagining of Rocky Mount.
I read on social media people who have nothing good to say about anything that is taking place with the work of revitalization. It makes me remember the waiting room at the hospital for chemo and radiation patients. When I was there, many of the caretakers sitting with the patients looked grim. They were certainly on a low frequency. Defintely cheerless. I thought, how are these patients ever going to get well with people like this around them? I wanted to take each of their hands and tell them how important attitude is in getting well.
Medical people that study this kind of thing say, “We don’t know why attitude is important, we only know that it is.” The importance of attitude fits my world view of things. Especially when it comes to the revitalization of Rocky Mount. Lord knows there is ‘stuff’ that happens to cause doubt that things will ever come right. That’s why we must put a stop to any shenanigans by voting out Councilman whose expiration date has long passed.
But look…. He who shall not be named has been named. (Everyday) Obstacles to grace, identified. Stake holders have pushed past the obstacles and are no longer easily deterred. Restaurants and entertainment venues have turned the lights on downtown, one by one. From my bench on Main Street, I call to everyone to cross over to the sunny side of the street, celebrate and support business downtown, invest in saving housing. One thing is sure, Rocky Mount won’t get well if certain people are allowed to continue to sit with the patient.
If you are a naysayer, find something in Rocky Mount to build a dream on. Your church, your favorite hot dog place, one of the fabulous art murals that make you smile. Start with all the good and godly people living in Rocky Mount, forever, or brand new arrivals. Bring a happy face and a grateful heart to the puzzle that is being built. How will Rocky Mount ever get ‘well’ if you add only your negativity to the healing process. Hold that thought the next time you give up on hope.
Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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