300 friendly folks…and a few old soreheads

Published 5:28 pm Monday, November 15, 2021

By Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson

In my travels, I have read many a welcome sign. The one for Puckett, Mississippi, a small community south of Brandon at the crossroads of State Highways 13 and 18, is my favorite. It reads, “Welcome to Puckett. 300 Good Friendly Folks. And a Few Old Soreheads”. 

Makes me laugh when I think about it and how accurately it describes people. I guess we are all guilty though, none of us is immune. We all have to fight the “sorehead” mentality from time to time. And we all have to fight the “sorehead” mentality in those around us, sometimes more often than we would like. 

Mayor Dan Gibson

I believe the key to success, whether describing a person or a community, is to rise above the “sorehead mentality” – some would call it “stinking thinking,” the very thing that holds so many people, and so many communities, back. 

For many years, I believe this kind of thinking is what has held Natchez back. The soreheads have at times been way louder than the “good old friendly folks” – and I believe negativity is more contagious than the flu! This is what’s wrong with America today. The soreheads seem to have taken over the airwaves and the internet. We see and hear far too much negativity. It’s time for a change. 

Thank heaven that change has come to Natchez. I am very grateful for what some are calling the new “positive vibe” that is permeating our community right now. The Natchez Renewal is happening all around us, and it’s refreshing to see positivity in action! 

A shining example of this “positivity in action” is Mr. Albert Hughes, IV – a Natchez High School Senior who recently motivated a team of 14 young volunteers to “renovate” Jack Waite Park, one of our Natchez City Parks, located between Franklin Street and St. Catherine. Armed with paint brushes and paint donated by Home Hardware, Stine Lumber Co., and Walmart, Mr. Hughes and these outstanding students made a tremendous difference in our community – all in one weekend!

Of course, I am not naïve to think that we’ll ever get to a place where the “soreheads” aren’t among us, and as Abraham Lincoln once said, reprising an old quote from the ancient poet John Lydgate, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

What I do know is this: As long as we take the high road, working hard every day to make good things happen, and responding appropriately even when the bad things happen, all will be well. I live by Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

I plan to keep taking the high road. It’s the only road I know. Natchez Deserves More. 

Dan Gibson is mayor of Natchez.