Most of the time, I write columns in my head and have it down pat exactly how they’ll read before I even pull up a blank Word document. Sometimes, though, the subjects get a little twisted – in a good way.
Two Saturdays ago, I was all smiles with everybody else who took in Aberdeen’s first Mardi Gras parade. For days thereafter, it seemed to be the main topic of conversation for so many people. I was even questioned at Walmart by four people who missed it but seemed as if they’re in for next year’s festivities.
Solid people from the corner of Commerce Street and Hickory all the way to Maple having a good time is a no-brainer that this will definitely happen again. Between the afternoon parade and the nighttime ball, who knew Aberdeen was so into Mardi Gras? Who knew that many people had traditional masks and so much purple, green and gold of their own?
It’s like I was telling people days after, you take the core group of people who came to the first Cruisin’ Amory in 2016 to hang out and ride around between rains. They had a blast, told all their friends what a good time they missed, and it doubled the next year.
By 2019, it took more than an hour to make a loop because of traffic snarls pulling into Piggly Wiggly parking lot. I’m all smiles those Saturday nights in late July, watching the Jeeps and convertibles pumping out the music from whenever their drivers were in high school.
Cruisin’ Amory has become a magical moment each year for Monroe County because it’s a reboot of something magical from the past. Aberdeen’s Mardi Gras taps into an institution just as awesome.
About the time a group of mostly Smithville guys were starting up a local wrestling circuit a few years ago, its main organizer said it’s kind of like when they used to wrestle at the Old Armory in Amory back in the ‘90s. You hear that all the time – “Remember when they used to do this?”
I’m with you and can tell you the countless things they used to do while I was growing up in Monroe County.
Mardi Gras, Cruisin’ Amory, wrestling, the Charity Ball, daddy-daughter dances, movies in the park – one of these days, somebody is going to ask, “Do you remember when they used to do that?”
I’d love to say all of it was here to stay forever, but people eventually get old enough to pass that torch to someone else. Aberdeen’s Bon Accord must’ve been one heck of a good time because nearly 60 years later, people are still talking about it. The people who put together that celebration to commemorate the town’s 125-year anniversary in 1962 aren’t around to do it like they used to do.
You don’t have to wait for somebody else to be creative enough to do something amazing. That’s the original thought I planned on building 700-something words around and keep it specific to community events.
However, this week’s story about the Aberdeen School District’s innovative learning aspects peaked my interest even more.
While in high school, I remember being envious of friends at Aberdeen High School, with their internet access in class back in the late ‘90s. We didn’t have it at Oak Hill at the time, and it was a whole new world.
The virtual world once you got past the dial-up modem then moved at a snail’s pace compared to flight simulators coming in the near future to the school now. We’ve written stories about unique anatomy and physiology projects, LEGO and VEX robotics and rocket teams, just to name a few of the creative classroom exercises Monroe County students are getting today.
Unlike all of the great community events of the past, when somebody asks, “Remember when they used to do that?” about certain school lessons, it’ll be like saying, “Remember when 8-bit video games were cutting edge?”
Monroe County is lucky to have plenty of creative people, and I thank every single one of you who step out to do something amazing.
We’ve got some great annual Saturday staples that make us change our world of thinking about how active our hometowns are. We’ve also got some great classroom aspects that might help make some future innovators change the world.