Thunderpig’s Mirror

Minor Civic Miracles by John Armor

Posted by Thunder Pig on December 4, 2007

Guest Commentary

Minor Civic Miracles
by John Armor
Highlands, NC

Two things happened last week that are minor miracles. We take such things for granted; they got merely local coverage, and not much of that. The first was the Highlands Christmas Parade on Saturday.

The Town is only four blocks long, but the parade was about eight blocks long. So, the first people to take part, had time to join the audience for the rest of the parade. In years past, Mayor Buck Trot would be in the first car as Mayor. Then he would rush back to the staging area, put on his red suit, and be at the end of the parade as Santa Claus.

Buck retired from being Mayor. But with his long white hair, his beard and mustache, and the fact that he is “a man of a certain girth,” he’ll remain as the Santa Claus forever.

Sounds like our parade was sorta lame. Not so. The new Mayor was in a lovingly restored late-model Model A Ford, with a rumble seat.
There were two other Model As in the parade. Folks hereabouts take their
vehicles very seriously. From the shine and perfection of the outsides of these
cars, I guarantee the engines were clean enough to eat your lunch off them.

There were also at least ten restored, early model Thunderbirds in the parade. And a vintage Mustang. And six fire trucks from Highlands, and the two nearest communities which support each other when any major fires occur.

There was the band from Highlands High School. They don’t have many musicians. They can’t afford uniforms. Their musical talents are not the same as the national champions who appear in parades like the Macy’s Thanksgiving one.

Why is it that the broadcast of the Macy’s Parade consists of two semi-celebrities announcing “the award-winning band from South Succotash,” and then talking over the band, telling lame jokes, and laugh over the parade. Wouldn’t it be nice to HEAR those musicians, who sold a lot of cakes and washed a lot of cars, to get to New York to play their hearts out.

Don’t TV producers pay any attention to what they are putting on the air?

Almost everyone watching our parade knew almost everyone IN the parade. Parents and children were calling and waving to each other. It was like the final, heart-warming scene in “The Music Man,” where the band begins to play. The parents’ cry out, “That’s our Tommy.” River City becomes a loving place where there really is a band – with 76 trombones and snappy uniforms.

This was a civic miracle for another reason. Almost very float (well, float is a high-fallutin word), they were John Deere and other equipment, decorated and carrying children, had a sign supporting a local charity. An immaculate black Corvette that I’d give my eye teeth to have, had a sign for the “Free Dental Clinic.”

What is the Clinic? Its chief fund raiser spoke at the Rotary Club last month. The Clinic provide millions of dollars in care to people who have no insurance and badly need dental care. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have provided first-class equipment and materials. That has attracted both practicing dentists, and ones who have retired to this area, to offer the free dentistry.

There is joy, there is caring, there is a community pulling together, all the things that any community should have, on display in Highlands on Saturday. That’s why I call it a minor civic miracle. We take it for granted, but it’s quite remarkable.

The other miracle took place in Hendersonville, last Wednesday. The Republican Men’s Club there invited all of the Congressional candidates for
the 11th District of North Carolina, to a debate. All three of us (yes, us)
Republican candidates showed up at 7:30 am for the debate. Because it’s going to be a hot election here in 2008, the room was packed, the press turned out, and we had an honest debate.

No question was steered or rigged, like the most recent Presidential
Debates for Republicans and Democrats. Ours was real questions asked by real people, and we had to come up with real answers.

Again, this was a small-town civic event. It was also a civic miracle, one that can and should be repeated a thousand times, all across this nation. Good things happen in small towns, so I thought I’d share the news.

– 30 –

About the Author: John Armor practiced in the US Supreme Court for 33 years.
John_Armor@aya.yale.edu
He lives in the 11th District of North Carolina.

– 30 –

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