Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where are we going?

The town of Afton has taken a turn, it seems to me. I can't quite assess the direction of this turn, but it just feels different somehow this season. It might be the construction occurring across the street, now that it's starting to look like a real building rather than a wooden box.It might be the increasing number of mental patients trudging around town, giving Afton just a touch of horror movie flare. Whatever the case, Afton is long due for a change -- a change of any kind. Of course, on a daily basis I see only the main street of town, Route 66. I don't know what goes on down on the back streets. People are living their lives back there, in this town devoid of grocery stores, pharmacies, and other necessities of living life. I know only a handful of them, and those I know are fine people. But how much longer will they be able to exist here in a town without economic diversity? I'm so glad that I'm going to be a part of the changes this town needs and with which it could flourish.

When I threw myself into the mix a few days ago during our Economic Development meeting with the Mayor and others, my first interest was, naturally, Route 66. It seems to me that it's the key, and perhaps the only key, to raising awareness of the town in a way that will bring prosperity back to Afton. Selfishly, it won't hurt my business to plump up the attractiveness and viability of Route 66 here. But in the long run, it's the folks who have hung in there and still live here -- those folks on the side streets whom I rarely see -- who will be the real winners if our little plot to improve their city takes hold. That doesn't really explain why Afton feels different to me now though, does it? Maybe nothing is different at all, but there does seem to be a whiff of change in the air, and that whiff might make all the difference.

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I got here at 8:30 today hoping those Model As would show up. It's 10:30 now and no Model As or anything else, for that matter. I've done a few routine chores and now will dig into the Sunday crossword. That should surely bring on a barrage of visitors.
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Well, the travelers started coming shortly after I wrote that last paragraph, and by the end of the day we had a respectable 17 visitors. They came from Oak Ridge TN, Tulsa OK, Gaylord MI, Bentonville AR, and Vinita OK. The Michigan visitors were a family of mother, two daughters, and daughters' two friends. All the girls excaped back to their car while the mother and the boyfriend of one of the girls stayed around, took lots of photos, and we chatted for a while. The Oak Ridge couple was doing the full Chicago-to-L.A. trip. The five folks from Bentonville, Arkansas were scouting for an upcoming vintage car cruise. I'm delighted to tell you that they assured me that we will definitely be a stop on the summer cruise. They were most impressed by our facility and car collection. That opinion made for a great end to my day. But. . . no Model As.

1 comment:

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Here is hoping that the positive changes keep coming.