Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Childhood Memories Meet Washington [Exclusive]

Each day of my life I learn something. Of course if I didn’t I would guess the mortuary would have already announced my demise. As such I am proud to let you folks know that I am still kicking and bearing the burden of teaching these fellows up here the proper ways of life. At least from a Southern point of view.

While battling my affliction with procrastination and avoiding that which I should be attending to, I came upon some information about another of my childhood memories. It seems that the establishment known as Ghost Town in the Sky fell upon hard times and has been closed for a couple of years now. In fact it is up for sale and probably carries a good price at least for nostalgic purposes. Now I would reckon this fine establishment was once one of the great vacationing destinations in the South. When heading up towards North Carolina and visiting the Great Smokey Mountains you had to have at least once visited Ghost Town in the Sky. Why my sister and I still have the Polaroid pictures (black & white, not color) to remind us of the visit when I was not old enough yet to know I was establishing those comfort memories that carry one through hard times. (By the way, for those not a member of the Baby Boomers, Polaroid pictures were the digital cameras of our time to shine.) The old destination of fun closed after a couple of the rides evidently failed state inspections and the cost to retrofit these childhood wonders must have exceeded the benefit. The original developer was and is still the owner. So as you might guess he has reached the age where one should be enjoying the fruits of his labor and not worrying about the rest of us. (This moving target of age will not be attainable by those of my generation and younger thanks to the greediness of our fine leaders in Washington. )

So now the parking lot sits empty and a whole town (Maggie Valley, North Carolina) that grew because of this honored institution now mourns the loss of children’s joyful laughs and screams on those hallowed grounds. I am proud to say I must’ve been one of its last customers as I took my children and young nephew to visit a couple of years ago. In fact, I was shocked when I saw the information of the closure. When I visited much of the town had not changed from my memories or maybe I just wished to recreate the magic of long ago. The articles I read seem to indicate that there are some potential buyers. I only hope they find enough potential to forego the pain of a wrecking ball so that another of my memories doesn’t become apartments and shopping malls. The people of Nashville already plowed over another of my comfort zones known as Opryland. So now we have Opry Mills taking in money without the thrill of the Wabash Cannonball. As my mother says, “Way leads to way.” I just wish these boys would learn the right way before they succeed in totally trashing any source of comfort in the fast moving world.

So here we are again pointing at the way money has twisted life just enough to cloud what would seem normal. I mean, who would ever think you would see a casino in Cherokee, North Carolina? What has happened to us? One might argue that change is for the better and in many ways it is. Look at the medicines and the capabilities we have at making things a little more comfortable. Of course we are exporting our technology in exchange for more money so we best have something make us comfortable because we are sure going to be sore from trying to find a job in the not so distant future (assuming NAFTA hasn’t already found you). Give the boys in Washington a hand for their progress; help them pack and get back home before they make a bigger mess.

With that wander off into the woods we best find our way home (for you city folk that means we got off the subject a little). Well, the sun is setting and truck is calling. Folks, get out and visit those fine tourist traps that make a lifetime of memories before some other yahoo finds a way to make a quick buck. See Rock City.