I stood with the townsfolk at the corner watching the burning building, my heart heavy remembering.
I was born there, in Dr. McMillan’s office in that building on the hottest day of the year in 1949.
When I was in junior high school, we girls stopped after school at a café on the corner, where we ordered a bottled Coke and package of salted peanuts to drop in the Coke, to make a tiny volcanic eruption, and then eat them after we drank the Coke.
When I moved back to Vinita in the late 1970s, I had my hair cut by Rusty Daugherty who had his barber shop in that corner. Other businesses in the past have occupied that building—the cable TV company, a flower shop, a karate gym, and most recently a pool hall.
In addition to the building that burned, other downtown buildings have been demolished, replaced with parking lots. I understand owners may not be financially able to repair old buildings, but what a shame to see buildings destroyed that could be revitalized as other communites are doing.
My hope and prayer is that buildings left in our downtown area will be restored and rebuilt. Our next generation needs to see a vital, alive, active downtown area, not just parking lots; a mixture of historic downtown buildings and modern architecture.
Many of our churches are also lying in waste. Very low attendance, coupled with church troubles, has caused churches to barely get by, week to week. Wouldn’t it be a shame to turn our churches into parking lots?
Rather than tear down old churches and build new ones, rather than rip churches apart so we can start over fresh, maybe it is time to rebuild, raise up, repair, and restore.
Isaiah 58:12 in New King James Version, “Those from among you shall build the old waste places: you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell in.”
Will you be the one who builds up the waste places? Will you be the workman who repairs and restores? Or will you just give up, tear it down, let it go, and start all over again somewhere else?
I want my title to be changed from “Huggy lady” to “The Repairer of the Breach.”