The Slow Death Of a Small Town

I try to keep the tone of my blog lighthearted. Why be serious, when there’s so much seriousness already in the real world? Today I need to change that for a second. More out of respect for my good friend Debbie whose been actively engaged in city hall politics, standing up for the little guy and trying to preserve a little piece of Americana in the process. Her small town has been fighting off the worst kind of predator. One that comes with deep pockets, political clout and hungry to rape virgin land in the name of profit. It’s a developer. (Queue oh-my-gosh music)

In both my contemporaries Flamingo Heights and Fantasy Nights the hero is a developer. I think the reason why this theme keeps running through my stories is because it’s so important to me. Of course my stories have happy endings with maybe a little bit of compromise.

So why is this important? I’ve seen the green and open spaces where I live slowly disappear, replaced with cookie cutter homes and strip malls that hold the promise of a lively economy only to sit vacant or foreclosed. Just recently a little strip mall went up on a corner of a busy street next to my house.

I think it holds about six businesses. It’s been sitting vacant for a year. The beautiful 100 year old oaks were torn down just so we could look a strip mall which probably doesn’t stand a chance of success because of its location. It would be too hard to get out once you got in. In Florida the lonely stretch of highway to my parents place, once green with grass lands, swamps, moss covered great oaks has been replaced with sheetrock and driveways.

There was an old dilapidated barn that sat picturesque under an oak with cows roaming around it and the last time I was there it was a pile of wood, and the orange ribbon around the oak marked its execution. I cried when I saw this. All in the name of progress.

Have you ever wondered when driving along an Ash Lane or Oak Drive why it was named that when all you see is home after home with no trees?

I think you get the picture. I also have trouble with our elected officials using eminent domain to build a football stadium.

Debbie if I were a billionaire I would buy up all the land around your beautiful little town that to me, rivals some of the places I’ve been in Europe and turn it into a national park. I’m sorry to hear that you and the other citizens didn’t stand a chance with city council because the deal was already done, and 2500 homes are going to litter the beautiful landscape where cut little deer roam the rocky hills and the silence is almost deafening at night except for the music of crickets.

If it’s of any consolation when Flamingo Heights gets published the first dedication will be to you and the memory of your little piece of heaven.

 But I sure hope the fight’s not over yet.

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One Response to “The Slow Death Of a Small Town”

  1. Sandy –

    I just finished reading your blog and am sitting here with tears running down my face. Between what you wrote and the dedication at the end – it was very humbling. I am so blessed to have you as one of my best friends. I love you! XOXOXOX As for describing what is happening here, near your own home, and around your Florida playground: YOU NAILED IT.

    I’ll send you some other stuff that that I’ve written about the rape of this land around here to your personal email. Maybe you will even get some ideas for conversation or dialogue in your novel for your main character.

    Thanks for your blog… and for you!

    DL

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