We Are Lumberton!

Yesterday, the special called meeting was canceled due to a lack of a quorum. I wanted to know what Mayor Winston intended with the order to designate Lumberton as a hub. I also wanted to speak with Winston to get more insight about his recent actions and to offer him the opportunity to give a statement that would help exculpate the image engrained in the minds of tbe citizens that viewed his plea at the Lamar County Board of Supervisors meeting. Unfortunately, we will have to wait and see if he has an explanation for his actions. At this point, we have no idea where things stand. We're in the season of giving and Winston is still focused on taking. I can't emphasize this enough. We need our police department. A few weeks ago, I sarcastically reported that a yoing man helped a woman load groceries into her car. A reader responded and said that's what she liked about Lumberton. She also expressed the joy she felt when a woman prayed for her mother in the parking lot of the dollar store. People say I focus on the negative aspects of Lumberton without balancing the information with positive stories. I disagree. The majority of my posts are related to politics and the actions of the mayor and board. If their actions are negative, thats what gets reported. I have never been one to don rose colored glasses. I give it to you raw and oftentimes, unfiltered. The balance I try to bring is the inclusion of the laws and possible solutions but those points are often overlooked. Let me be clear, my only agenda is for Lumberton to flourish and if tough decisions need to be made in order for that to happen, I'm all for it. However, we're always stuck with stagnat leaders that have a personal agenda and for that reason, our city is not able to move forward. I must admit, the stories of good tidings are few and far between. However, there's a very sanitized version of events printed in the Hattiesburg American every Sunday.

Tomorrow, we celebrate Christmas. This city is wrought with trouble. This is especially true when it comes to city governance. For a brief moment, I would like to reflect on some of the good deeds that goes unnoticed. Although our representatives are self-serving, there are some very selfless people that make this city great. Not a summer goes by without the cravings of watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes (green and ripe) and local farmer (and licensed contractor), Chad Owens, is there to satisfy that craving. Chad, affectionaly known as Pops, is up before dawn making sure he's situated in town to deliver the best produce in the state. He spends hours in the sweltering heat, greets us with his signature phrase, "God is good", and always has a smile on his face. Somehow, he juggles his farm, family life and construction business with such grace. Chad is very humble and a vital strand in the tapestry that makes Lumberton a great place to call home. Another reason why Lumberton is great; its library. The Lumberton library is truly the hub of the city. If you want to know something, go to the library. If they don't know the answers, Melinda and Sherri won't stop until they get the information you requested. They're always on topmof current events, books, and videos. They're so attentive to their patrons; they even know what genres you like and make recommendations based on your preferences. If there's something they can help you with, they will do so and it's done with a smile on their faces. Right across the street, we have one of the friendliest staff of bankers known to man. Mrs. Mary Ball and tbe staff of Bancorp South are always pleasant and they too go above and beyond the call of duty. Let's go a little further down Main Street to the police station. Chief Elsie Cowart is an original. I got the opportunity to get better acquainted with her when she and this ball of positive energy named Rachel Jefferson, organized a educational forum for Black History Month. It was then that I noticed Cowart's influence and compasdion for the youths of the city. She is truly a leader and she leads by example. I guess that would explain why she has such a dedicated, selfless group of officers working with her. I don't know many police departments that have officers that will do major automobile repairs on their patrol cars, free of charge, to save the city money. I also don't know many cities where you can flag down an officer and ask him to help you get into your car because you accidentally locked both sets of keys inside. Don't judge me. How many officers do you know that will get out of their patrol cars and play a game of basketball with a couple of kids? Now that's community policing at its best. Let's not forget about the officers digging into their pockets to fund the annual Easter egg hunt and Day in the Park. Again, another example of caring about their community. There's a lot of good going on in Lumberton but it usually bets overshadowed by the bad.

The prices at Ramey's could be better but they have a priceless staff. James, the meat man (I hate using that phrade to reference him but you know who I'm talking about) will look all over the store to help you find a specific item, even if you don't know the name. If you need a special cut or specific item, he will get it for you, even if he had to get it from another location. And you can't enter or leave Ramey's without getting a smile and heartfelt greeting from Miss Mary. I know she's Mrs. Mary Toney, but I still call her Miss Mary. She's always friendly and in good spirits. If there's something in your cary that's going on sale, she won't hesitate to let you know, "that's going on sale tomorrow. " What about the crew at Lumberton Farm and Garden. Aren't they the greatest? I can't tell you how many times I went in there looking for a doo-hickey or a thing-a-ma-jig and they were able to find what I wad looking for, despite my inability to give them tne name of the what-cha-ma-callit. Not only do they provide excellent customer service, they decorate the Welcome To Lumberton sign and tbe planter boxes throughout the city. During the Fall and Winter months, a trip to Bass Pecan is a must. Deborah Gallagher is a jewel. I make several tasting trips to Bass and she seems to get more friendly with each visit. That's probably why I go there so often (truth be told, I think it's the free samples). Oh, I almost forgot to mention this when I was talking about the library. When you're a regular at the library, you get used to seeing certain patrons. Somehow, Twila, Mr. Troy and Joseph seem like family instead of patrons. And nothing beats the times when Princess enters the building; she's a force to be recokoned with, a pure joy. She's not shy at all. Youre going to know she's present. After breeting you in love, she's going to tell you if you're right or wrong, then shes going to hug you and pray for you. If you haven't had the fortune of interacting with Princess, you don't know what you're missing.

Lumberton is filled with great people and great things are happening each and everyday. Perhaps I should take more time to dhare these wonderful events. There's good everywhere, we just have to take time to look for it. Where else would you find a mother like Kim Rogers that would turn the tragic death of her daughter into a foundation to end domestic violence. Where else would you find a businessman like Chris Wright, that has so much compassion for veterans, that he started a Car and Bike Show to make sure the veterans have a good Christmas. Where else but Lumberton, would you find a group of young men that works offshore, dig into their pockets and sponsor a cookout and day of fun activities for the community they once lived. Lumberton has parents, fans and sports enthusiasts that will drive long didtances to support tbe Lumberton Panthers. Like I said, there's good things happening in Lumberton, despite what's happening in city hall. I hope you enjoyed this post and promise more like this in 2015. I pray that each and evey one of you have a Very, Merry Christmas! Please share your positive experiences in Lumberton. Like the Phoenix, Lumberton will rise from the ashes. WE ARE LUMBERTON AND WE WILL SURVIVE!

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