We've gotten the new parsonage (I say 'we' loosely since it really was my wife's doing) all arranged and decorated for the event of daily life here in Marlin, Tx. And life here in Marlin is quite interesting. First off, the town of nearly 7000 is an old mineral water mecca, thriving during the first half of the last century. However, new advances in medicine brought about a decline and subsequent downturn. All the big and beautiful homes here, the hayday activities, and the bustling businesses are either moving away or rotting away. Some, however, are staying the course and praying for change. The only thing that is constant is the mineral water flowing out of the old downtown fountain by the Chamber of Commerce building. The mineral water still works too...just drink a full glass of it and get ready to rock. Be close by a toilet also.
The old families who were around during the good times still recall, with relish, the glory of better times.
But there is an undercurrent here that is slowly emerging. I haven't grasped it's full meaning yet, but in time I will. In part it is the decisions of past generations that have helped this demise along. Perhaps it will be the decisions of present generations to pull this town, and community, up from the well.
Since I am the eternal optimist, the romantic dreamer, the bull-headed progressive, I believe that there are possibilities ahead that will help our little town, once again, be vital in a new age of medical and technical marvels...with a traditional slant and tip-o-the-hat to the best of what once was. But putting new wine into old wine skins is a dangerous proposition. So, how best to proceed depends on the efforts to future generations...our children. We are old and tired (hey! watch that 'old guy' wisecrack, fella!). They aren't.
One of the challenges is simply black and white. North side and South side, if you get my drift. It has always been here since the civil war. This integrated community, besides its tensions, has existed in a sort of harmonious uneasiness. Yeah, I know there is something that isn't right about that phrase, but one gets the sense of it on the streets also. Everyone is congenial enough toward one another, but the younger generations have noticed it and accepted it begrudgingly. Many have simply flown away like migrating birds of a feather, revisiting yearly, the place of their ancestry. Perhaps they are dreaming too. The rest are caught and can only hope to accomplish a feat of revitalization that will breathe new life into a place with a rich history and short of breath.
My new post. My new thought. My new hope.