It’s been a few months since I’ve written an article for 78 Magazine online, but it’s been on my mind to do so quite a bit lately. I had initially intended to write something about the closing of Cobb Movies 4 in Jasper, and had begun doing interviews. However, circumstances forced that article to be placed on the back burner, and since the theater closed in September, I feel that it’s rather old news by now.
While I’m on the subject of theater, I wanted to remind readers that we do have some local theater here in the area. The Walker County Arts Alliance presents various productions during the year. By the time you read this, they will have already presented a comedy titled Til Death Do Us Part at the CHS Activity Center. I auditioned for a role, but the male roles had already been all but cast by then. A previous event the night before prevented me from the Friday night audition, but I made it on Saturday. In fact, I was the only male person to audition that day. All the men had read for parts the night before, but the director, Alan Woellhart, placed me on standby.
I knew Alan from a production of My Fair Lady, directed by Terry Kelley, which we did back around 1998. Alan played the role of Freddie, (played by Jeremy Brett in the film version) and I was Alfie Doolittle. That production was three consecutive nights of music, laughs, miscues, forgotten lines, stress, sweat, and nerves, but we all had fun.
I don’t relish the idea of me singing on stage, since it tends to cause small children to cry uncontrollably and senior citizens to clutch their ears and chests and flee the theater in horror, but there was some acting involved for the role as well, so I accepted it. My agent immediately dropped me and refused to represent me ever again.
Walker County may not be on the same level as New York or Chicago with regard to theater and the arts, but there we do indeed have several events that feature the arts. Earlier in the year, the Arts Alliance presented “Art in the Park”, an annual event that is normally held on a Saturday at Gamble Park. This year, the event had to be moved the day before, due to the threat of inclement weather. Beth Sargent of the WCAA was scheduled for an interview to promote it that Friday morning on our station, Oldies 101.5 WJLX, and just minutes before she went on the air, she informed me that they had just made the decision to move the event to Clem Gym, on the campus of Bevill State College in Jasper. I applaud their decision and I was very relieved to know that the threat of bad weather had not prevented the event after all, since I planned to attend. I believe in taking advantage whenever possible of the time we have now to experience the better things in life that make it more pleasant. “Carpe’ diem”. Seize the day.
I know Jasper and Walker County have a certain reputation in certain circles. We’ve all heard the rumors about hiring hit men, people disappearing, bodies and vehicles at the bottom of a lake, etc. But I think we sometimes tend to focus too much on the negative here, more than the positive. There may or may not be something to those rumors. I am not here to address those. The point I’m making is that this area also has so many positive things about it that we often forget the good that is done here. I will concede that there are some rather unpleasant events that have happened here in past years. That cannot be denied. There are countless news articles detailing these things. But if we focus only on rumors and innuendo, and fail to look at the good things, that’s all we will ever see. A song written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, and released in 1944, repeats the following lines:
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”.
There is a lot of positive here in this county. We just saw the return of the Foothills Festival a few months ago. This past July we had the Blues and BBQ event at Old York in Oakman. There are other various events, from the Frog Festival in Sumiton, the Home and Garden Show at Jasper Mall, First Friday in downtown Jasper, featuring local musical acts, to Mule Day in Winfield, and there are countless others. For those who like classic cars, (as I do) there are several events each year featuring antique and classic automobiles.
We can choose to surround ourselves with rumors, speculation, and tall tales, or we can choose to stop and smell the proverbial roses whenever possible. As I grow older, more and more I am impressed with the fact that we are only here for a little while. Life is just too short to waste it by spending too much precious time thinking and worrying about rumors and what might have happened or what could happen. Enjoy the moment. Treasure your time here now.