This past week saw the passing of two community icons; Mr. John Moss and Mr. Danny Farmer. Both men had deep roots in and a passion for our community. Both will be truly missed. Upon hearing the news of their passing and in a quiet moment of reflection I found myself with feelings of gratitude and respect for the seeds they sowed. At a time when your mind is flooded with emotions and memories, sometime it’s hard to find perspective. In the days after their memorials, I was thinking about how men like them and so many others who have come and gone can still teach us lessons of responsibility, character, vision, and service to others.
It has not been that long ago that Mt Juliet boasted a population of barely over 3,000. Now less than thirty years later we are at nearly ten-times that number of residents. And while we are continuously working thru the expected growing pains, most would agree we are blessed beyond our wildest dreams. It’s safe to say that we have a very special place to call home. Many who are relatively new to our community may not know of those who planted that tiny acorn many years ago so that we could enjoy the shade of this mighty oak we call Mt. Juliet.
It is no secret that many of my articles are about our weekend travels throughout the back roads of our great State. As we come upon some of these often small and once thriving communities, sometimes we do stop for a short visit but mostly we just slow down as we pass by. It becomes very obvious very quickly that some have found a way to stay connected to their past while staying relevant in the current. Others however present a very different picture. It’s almost as if their town is dying with little hope of ever returning to a vibrant and growing community. Some have clearly been a casualty of an Interstate Highway that is in the next town over which has sucked their retail tax base away. Others perhaps did not invest early on in their downtown or utility infrastructure to prepare for future growth of any kind. I’m sure there are many other reasons, probably too many to even imagine. Maybe, just maybe though, it was because they never had a John or a Danny, or others like them to help nurture the tiny acorns in their community the way we did.
For our newer friends and neighbors, you may just have to trust me on this one. We owe these men and so many other men and women like them a tremendous debt of gratitude for making today’s shade a reality. What will each of us do today, tomorrow, and years from now to make sure that those that follow us will be able to enjoy their shade? Some things take a lot of time and often get handed down as works-in-progress to future generations. Things such as sewers, fresh water, sidewalks, roadways, greenways and open spaces, parks, and building standards never really get finished. All of these things require constant planning, investment, maintenance, expansion, and upgrading. None of that comes cheap. In fact it comes at a very steep price.