Do you remember the wonderful love song, These Foolish Things Remind Me Of You? It isn’t a cigarette that bears a lipstick’s traces or an airline ticket to romantic places but ‘foolish things’ come to mind when I write and speak. My reading life and the research I love, the stories I am told, the people I meet all fuel how I write about the preservation, restoration and repurposing of the commercial and residential architecture of Rocky Mount.
For example: I was binge watching a series on Amazon called The Trial. In one of the episodes there is an elderly man who has a collection of keys. He explains that one of the keys belonged to his parents home where he grew up. I remember the phone number of my childhood home….Gr-5-4672, but the house key; it has gone where the lost things go. The man’s collection of keys made me think, what a great prompt to tell stories about Rocky Mount. The keys became the ‘foolish thing’ that led to this particular blog post. Now to the point of all this.
I want Rocky Mount to host a Story-Telling festival. With marketing, and linked to other ‘happenings’ it becomes an annual event. It will take three years in the making to become a do not miss occasion. After year one, people say they enjoyed it and tell others who then will want to come year two. By the third year it becomes a, ‘Can’t Be Missed!’ event. There are categories for the story-telling, with a slot for younger children tol encourage their involvement. Maybe the library sponsors this secession. You get how it could be organized. Let’s fill The Event Center with different ticketed storytelling secessions. Perhaps one of the sections could be free to all nursing home residents making an entertaining outing.
Because I do not believe the Downtown Development Office has a lot of imagination, I don’t see them creating ideas that bring people downtown and from out of town. A Storytelling Festival Committee will be necessary to plan and execute the event. It can roll out under the Development Team auspices but with outside leadership to organize. Come to think of it, that’s how it should work anyhow.
I am beside myself to have Rocky Mount start an annual event ‘Sunday After Church.’ (Same timing/how it works as above.) Imagine the Event Center, box lunches, an inspiring message from clergy that rotates each year. Let’s have some church choirs provide gospel music, and lead a hymn singalong. Rocky Mount is filled with churches and people of faith. That faithfulness is the wind under the sails of Rocky Mount. Let’s celebrate what we believe in and make it another reason to love Rocky Mount. I see a Tent Revival enthusiasm for the event open to as many as the fire department allows. Ticket money profit can be ear-marked for the renovation of a house in an at risk neighborhood, or ?????
Main Street often becomes the depository for the ‘foolish things’ I experience. In fact, I urge you to pay attention to the ‘foolish things’ that surround you. We miss a lot that can bring inspiration and a smile to our hearts. I set great store in not only the value of growing older but in preserving and honoring the past. It is #1 priority to preserve, restore and repurpose Rocky Mount’s architectural heritage, both residential and commercial. Let’s have some fun while we are doing this. How about we tell stories and sing a joyful song. Two annual summer events that make Rocky Mount not only a destination but an adventure for a few days of great food, family fun, associated venues like movies in the park and ……………? Can you feel it? Me too.
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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