At the Crossroads

At the Crossroads-1This past week I’ve been making treks up to Winnebago County to show a buyer homes and was brought back up to speed with the streets of Forest City.  When some of my old relatives were still alive, we used to drive up Sundays on occasion for long visits.  There have also been times when I’d have to go to the courthouse to file documents once in a great while, but never spent much of any time driving around.  After my last appointment today I thought to myself, “You know Joe, you should take some time and visit the cemetery where a number of your very long gone relatives are buried.”  I can’t remember the cemetery’s name, but it’s the one just south of the high school.  It’s very small in size and when driving up to the top of that hill, I’d say it would be a dead ringer of a “boot hill” we’ve seen in old Westerns.  The sharp rise from all directions made me almost think is was a giant-sized Indian Burial Mound, but of course I’m sure it’s not true and likely another example of my imagination running wild while being there. Being familiar with the names of my old ones, I was surprised to find nearly all of them clustered on the top of that hill and not below.  Most of my blood relatives still living wouldn’t be able to put together the familial connection due to sisters and daughters marrying and taking on their husbands’ last names.  I’d almost forgotten one of the family names of a sister marrying into another family until I recognized the last name of a family cluster a very short distance away.  That family’s name was pronounced almost completely different than spelled.  I’m glad they didn’t Americanize it when they arrived on our shores because if they did, it would be spelled and sound like the “jerky” people buy in the gas marts to chew on while driving.  People really must try to keep track of their lineages a little more since more sooner than later, there’ll be children and grandchildren asking questions that can’t be answered.  I did walk past one tombstone of a barbaric and self-centered family I was familiar with in the past and didn’t miss a beat in my walking on by.  I don’t feel it at all necessary to waste time thinking or talking about really bad people.  Sooner or later they create their own ends.

Since yesterday, I’ve been hearing some of the comments from the general public regarding the slaughterhouse being voted down by our City Council.  I’m sure those of you who read my take on it in an article I wrote about a month or so ago.  I pretty much re-affirmed my opinion these past two days as I did then.  I’m absolutely all for progress here in Mason City and as far as I can see, we are making progress.  The Historic Downtown is being resurrected to where the general public and businesses want to grow, there’s a fine condominium project underway just to the east of Federal Avenue, we have the drug distribution center ramping up in Clear Lake, and we have a number of transplants from out of State deciding to make their homes here.  Our medical center is expanding to where it’ll likely become the hub for everyone living at least an hour or more drive away.  And lastly, I can say the work that our City has been doing to make our community’s attractions more desirable than most, is actually working.  I’ve heard more people this past year saying how much they like it here than I’ve ever heard before.  Now that should tell us we’re are at the crossroads of becoming bigger and better.  I’m not the least bit sad about the thumbs down on the slaughterhouse this past Tuesday evening.

Joe Chodur

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