Editorial: Cooleemee provides ‘best day ever’

Published 10:21 am Thursday, July 7, 2022

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Best. Day. Ever.

She said it out loud, screamed it for dozens of people to hear. But I don’t think she even noticed those people. She was too busy having the time of her life.

It was a simple invention: a long piece of plastic placed on a hillside, with running water and plenty of sudsy soap at the top. And some encouraging volunteers coaxing the youngsters to take the plunge and see how far they could slide. Not a bad idea for a hot summer day, and it works year after year.

For that one little girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, her excitement was too much to hold back. After all, she had just witnessed the Town of Cooleemee’s annual Independence Day Parade. What started out as a lawnmower parade (They’ve had everything from machines that cost tens of thousands of dollars to a goat.), has morphed into a parade for the masses. All are welcome. Just be tasteful. Have fun and be patriotic. Simple rules that work. The parade didn’t disappoint the hundreds of people who lined the streets. Kids went home with bags of candy.

And when it was over, well, that piece of plastic on the hillside beside the town’s historic Zachary House went into action. As did volunteers cutting up watermelons, giving out freeze pops and cooking hotdogs. A large plastic swimming pool held water-filled balloons and a few water guns. The kids had a blast, and so did the adults. A few of them got wet, too.

The town should be proud, so should everyone who helped with that celebration. Why? Because for at least one little girl, it was the best day ever. And by the looks on the faces of those attending, all had a good time. They were proud to be part of that little community if only for a couple of hours. It was America at its finest.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all look at life with that little girl’s enthusiasm? We need to learn how to embrace the most simple of life’s happenings, find joy in the things and people who are around us every day. It’s there – we just have to look through the fog that too often creeps into our lives and minds.

I’m not endorsing the “blow up your TV, throw away your paper” mentality made popular by John Prine (Although that works for some folks.), I’m just asking that we be nicer to each other. People aren’t demons because they think differently athan you. People aren’t demons because someone else tells you they are.

People, for the most part, all want the same thing. They want to be happy. They want their family to be provided for, safe, and happy. They want their communities to be supportive, engaging and happy. Getting to that happy place is different for each of us, but we can overcome those difference, embrace those differences.

If we could do that. If we could become that little girl for just part of the time, then we, too, could have a lot more of these:

Best. Day. Ever.

– Mike Barnhardt