Destiny is calling me; open up my eager eyes, ‘cause I’m Mr. Brightside.
— The Killers
All this warm-and-fuzzy going on from reformed squawkers in response to The Herald’s new Bright Side column has inspired me to share a few of my own positive observations in this ongoing fight of good vs. evil.
— If you have employees who complain about their jobs all day long and gripe about how no one appreciates all that hard work they’re doing — or if you are one of those people doing the complaining — here’s a suggestion. Swing by the county School Board building at the corner of Washington and Pine when you have a chance and watch Billy Griner work. If you can look in the mirror and honestly say you work as hard at your job as Griner does his, then by all means, keep on griping, brother.
I don’t know Griner except to say Hi to him when I see him out taking care of the grounds around the School Board building — oh, and I did see him come across the finish line at the recent Snickers Marathon — but it doesn’t take more than a couple of passing moments to realize Griner is one of those guys who believes in doing his job as well as he can. Maintenance work is not the most glamorous job one can have, but glamour obviously is not one of Griner’s big concerns. He just does his job, better even than is expected.
Guaranteed, if even half of America’s work force — whether they’re accountants, sanitation workers, lawyers, actors, doctors, roofers, chefs, teachers or journalists — worked as hard at their jobs as Griner does his, our country would have much fewer economic concerns ... and it would be a much better place to live.
— Way too often we take for granted some of the cool things we have access to on a daily basis. I was reminded of that fact on a recent trip in to work when I watched two busloads of school children pull in for a day of adventure at Chehaw Park. My windows were down, and I could hear the building buzz of excitement as I passed the buses, which were from the Cook County School system.
What may have been even cooler was that 10 cars — I counted — waited in a turn-lane convoy behind the buses. I don’t know that all 10 vehicles were with the Adel students, but I’d be willing to bet they were. For these kids — and their parents — this trip was no doubt a highlight of their school year, something they eagerly looked forward to.
We, meanwhile, adapt the old been-there, done-that attitude when we talk about the attractions in our own backyard, frequently belittling them as “not that big a deal.” But places like Chehaw, the Thronateeska Heritage Museum and Planetarium, the Flint RiverQuarium, the Albany Civil Rights Institute and the Albany Museum of Art are, in fact, a very big deal. And at no time is that more abundantly obvious than when kids from communuties that don’t have such facilities visit.
Perhaps if we took the time to reconnect with our inner child — those of us who have not become so blase and culturally superior to do so, at least — we could appreciate once again the things that once filled us with wonder.
— This last bit is my answer to the people who say there’s absolutely nothing good about Albany. I disagree, and here’s an off-the-cuff list of why: Munir and Mona Qaqish and their chicken and rice soup at the Cookie Shoppe ... the view of the Flint River from the second story of the Convention & Visitors Bureau ... Albany State University football coaches Mike White and Dan Land, two of the finest gentlemen I know ... Radium Springs ... the amazing athletic program at Darton State College ... sausage dogs at Billy Boys Wings and Bar-B-Q ... the State Theatre ... Ken Faircloth ... music by UBL, G&S Experience, the Bo Henry Band, Relapse, Evan Barber & the Dead Gamblers ... chicken pot pie at Harvest Moon ... the permanent natural canopy — and Christmas luminaries — in the Rawson Circle neighborhood.
A suggestion: Come up with your own list. It’s therapeutic.
Email Carlton Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.