Also: PAL kids set an example
Seeking a walkable city
How beautiful it is early before the sunrise on this New Year's morning. Almost everybody is still sleeping, except the birds and they seem exceptionally loud this morning or maybe it's because there's no swarm of traffic in the background on this early holiday morning. So, I get to see what it might've felt like in an earlier time in our history, not what it might have looked like, but I can imagine. The sun peeks over the houses in my neighborhood, mostly small single-family dwellings, thankfully. The sun warms me and I realize how lucky I am to be in Florida where it's already 70 degrees on Jan. 1, 2019. In this atmosphere and without my concepts of the way things are supposed to be, I imagine inviting all of you to my house, to see my yard of beach daisies and palmettos, sea grass and sea grapes and little ponds ... yes little ponds that contain mosquito fish to take care of the mosquito eggs, and there are plants to nourish and clean the water and the cat feels free to drink from it. I slowly walk around my yard enjoying the morning sounds, the smells, and the pure pleasure of nature. I soon wander the three blocks to the beach.
I'm talking my thoughts into my phone as I cross A1A, which is a dangerous thing to do, especially with no crosswalk, but I wave at the speeding cars and cross to the middle and then on over. I wave a friendly wave now, unlike when I first returned from traveling to and fro for six years as a family life counselor with military kids. In those first days and weeks back, I found myself angry when I stepped out onto my street, or crossed A1A, or Granada, or Halifax, and encountered speeding traffic on streets not designed for pedestrians or cyclists, but for automobiles ... in order to get where they want as fast as possible. This was in sharp contrast to other cities I visited around the world, and so, my great unsolicited idea out of this contrast is to invite you all to join me on a walk in the early morning hours before dawn to see why I mourn our great loss.
It's not only the loss of beauty, and quiet, nature, and clean fresh air, but the loss of community. I berate myself a little for wanting what is not, and wonder at myself, especially the angry stage I went through, but later that same day when I speak of my nostalgia, someone hands me a book, called Walkable City, how downtown can save America, one step at a time, by Jeff Speck. Read it and take a walk on the beachside in your little neighborhood before dawn.
PAL kids set example for others
Last evening, Dec. 20, I had the pleasure to observe a group of 12 to 15 young members of the Ormond Beach Police Athletic League gather together at Manny's Pizza in Ormond Beach. These young people could serve as an example to 2019 etiquette in public.
Not one of them took out a cell phone or I-pad to capture the events, not one of them raised voices to call out to newcomers or friends, not one of them asked for platters of food to be passed without a "please" or "thank you." Under the direction of Avery Randolph, athletic/activities specialist, this group of young men and women are a credit to the efforts of PAL and themselves.
They were respectful of the families and seniors who were customers at Manny's as well as to the servers and staff of the restaurant. Congratulations to PAL of Ormond Beach. Well Done!
Editor’s note: Also attending the dinner was Alexis Williams, OBPAL recreation leader.