I’ll be honest, I was dreading making the trip to the Public Safety Commision last Thursday. Oh sure, it was a government meeting (and who doesn’t love those?) but the real issue was trying to get enough money to work out 911 and jail services.
An earlier meeting on this subject had points where, well, I wouldn’t say “voices were raised,” but I would say they would have been if things had going on a few minutes longers. (And important to note whoever was upset with whoever were still able to speak with each other reasonably.) And I dreaded going through that. Obviously I’ve gotten to know a number of the people bumping around at these things, and it’s never comfortable to be around this when the (potential for) shouting starts.
This, after all, isn’t one of those silly opinion-as-news television shows. This is real world, cities and counties in an economically strained area (to put it kindly) working out expenses. There was no entertainment in the shouting.
And there wasn’t any shouting. Oh, don’t get me wrong, nobody was holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” either - money ain’t free after all - but there was something of a palpable relief as resolutions were presented, weighed, and considered.
Nobody, after all, wanted to argue.
You could feel it in the room as it became obvious - especially when the subject of “jail fees” came up, the source of earlier hardship - that a solution, in this case funding-via-tickets, was presented. There was a way; this could happen, breath; we got this.
It’s important to, as Justice Brian Tatum said after the meeting, “work together.” It’s how things get done, he said.
It gets a little frustrating, granted, but we agree with Tatum: People working together get things done. It was nice to see that.
Meanwhile, Spring’s on its way, and with it things are happening around the county.
The tree planting at the library was a nice event. It was one of those things where you might miss it, what with all the other affairs of the world going on to stop and watch a tree get planted, and yet I’m glad I was there.
Watching the tree hit the ground - soil from World War I joining it - was important, as was watching those young men of the trail life troop coming to terms with the formality such a ceremony deserves.
But what was especially striking was as one of the young men read the famous “In Flanders Fields,” a poem of World War I, written by a soldier, Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae on his second tour, who had just buried a friend killed at Ypres, one of the first chemical attacks of the war.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
And there, off the parking lot at the library, wind blowing, parents, officials, young men fulfilling their duty, and soil from a long-ago battle was placed with honor, around something that will grow and, with any luck, outlive us all.