Some groups haven’t lost sense of pride

Published 12:07 am Friday, September 30, 2011

Imagine what the world would look like if we approached our challenges in life like a 2-year-old.

Nothing is ever simple at the Hillyer house these days — especially for my 2-year-old son who seems to make every moment in life count.

The shortest distance between point A and point B may be a straight line, but it is certainly not the most fun or the most challenging. For Gibson the fun is in the challenge, so why not embrace every moment as a mountain unclimbed or an ocean uncrossed.

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The trip from our car into the house is a fairly simple one. There are two ways. You can either walk up the driveway to the back porch or you can walk down the driveway and then up the front steps to the front porch. Each is little more than 30 or 40 steps.

Neither will suffice for Gibson. No, he has found another way to get inside that includes a bit of mountain climbing, a few balance skills and several tense moments for Dad.

Instead of using the driveway, Gibson goes off-road by clambering up a 30-inch high incline along the side of the house, carefully skirting along the edge and then grabbing hold of an old concrete foundation with his fingernails to pull himself up another two feet on the walk beside our front porch.

That was the route Gibson took Tuesday evening.

Of course it is all about testing the limits at his age and about the self-satisfaction that another obstacle has been conquered. When he reached the front porch Tuesday, Gibson beamed with delight and exclaimed enthusiastically, “I did it! I did it!, I did it!”

What would happen if we as a community were just as enthusiastic and creative about some of the challenges that lie ahead — instead of taking the straight line approach we looked for those uncharted territories and we embraced such challenges with enthusiasm.

Some of this is already happening in our community.

The local Master Gardeners who have taken on the challenge of keeping downtown lush and beautiful is just one example.

In recent years, downtown trees have been left shaggy and unkempt. The small garden beds, in many cases have been left deserted and bare. Neither the city or many of the local business owners have taken the responsibility to keep these areas well-kept.

Instead, a small militia of garden enthusiasts armed with pruning shears and shovels have come to the rescue, pledging to keep downtown beautiful, by replacing dead trees, repairing tree wells and keeping the downtown landscape lush and green.

The Master Gardeners enthusiasm for the project has spread to other groups, like the Symphony of Gardens Tour organizers who recently donated $6,000 for tree well repair.

The same enthusiasm has caught fire with the Christmas in Natchez organizers.

They have embraced the challenge of creating tourist attractions in a season that just a few years ago was barely more than a Christmas tree in the middle of Commerce and Main streets.

Now the entire downtown is decorated in garlands and wreaths during the holidays. The sounds of Christmas carols echo through the street.

This year’s Christmas celebration promises to be even better with an outdoor ice skating rink (in the South?) and three fireworks shows to light up the December sky. This small group of determined elves refuses to wait for Santa to bring holiday cheer. They are doing it themselves.

Maybe one day the ‘elves,’ the Master Gardeners and Christmas committee will get the opportunity to jump up and down like my 2-year-old and shout, “We did it! We did it!”

They should, because they are inspiration to us all.

Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540.