Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year by John Dersham

We are very blessed to live where we do. We live in an extremely scenic area with a low cost of living and excellent city and county services. We have the most genuinely friendly and helpful people all throughout our area. We support our churches and our civic organizations and in a time of a lot of separation from the communities we live in our area that remains close knit. People here care about each other and come to help whenever someone is in trouble. We should all count our blessings and be thankful each day for the outstanding quality of life we have here. If you have lived here all of your life you might take for granted what I am saying, so now, in this special time of year it would be a good time to remind yourself of what we have. I get to talk to people all the time that come here as tourists. They love it here and they keep coming back over and over. They come because while they are here they enjoy our friendly helpful ways. They enjoy our many scenic venues, our great communities, our places to eat, shop and stay. They love to come here and they relax in a place that is easy to get around in without a lot of traffic. They come for our rental cabins, B&B’s, hotels, state parks, and our national preserve. They come to drive our scenic parkway on motorcycles, they come to hike and enjoy nature, they come for the World’s Longest Yard Sale, and they come to mill around and enjoy music, arts and crafts at our scenic mountain get-a-way of Mentone. They come for events at the Northeast Agri Center in Rainsville, they come for the Alabama Museum and Gift shop. They come hoping to see one of the Alabama boys around town. They come, they stay and they spend their hard earned income in our towns providing tax revenue for our communities. People visit us and want to move here. We hear that all the time at our tourist information center. They come because they love it here… and I do too.
From all of us at DeKalb Tourism we wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year. May your blessings be many and your troubles be few.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

We need a little "Perry Christmas" now by John Dersham

My parents married in May of 1943 knowing that in a couple days my dad would be on a ship heading to the battlegrounds of World War II. He had already graduated from Penn State and was teaching high school in Knox, Pennsylvania when he was drafted two years earlier and it was in Knox he met my Mom. When my dad got on the ship to head abroad he said he never said good bye, he just said I’ll be back when we win. The next 2 ½ years of my parents young marriage was spent an ocean apart. My mom worked in a box factory that was making boxes for the war effort. No one questioned the purpose of the war and everyone was willing to sacrifice whatever was necessary for the war effort. Sugar was rationed along with many other consumable products. No new cars were made. You did without and you did it without question or complaint. Most companies were making products only for the war. Companies reconfigured their factories to produce products that were needed overseas. In that time some of our greatest creativity and invention came about. It came in time to help win the war and when the war was over in 1945 my dad and hundreds of thousands of heroes came home to the beginning of the heyday of American positive attitude, creativity and invention and the beginning of the greatest class of people of all time, the middle class. When my dad got home to his bride 2 ½ years after his departure he came home to all kinds of fabulous support and job opportunities. He took advantage of the newly founded GI Bill and courtesy of his commitment to his country he returned to Penn State and got his Masters Degree. My brother and I were born not too long after the war ended but long enough that by the time we came along our country was booming. Everyone had a job that wanted to work. Families that never owned a home were buying one for the first time. I grew up in a time of great spirit and universal support for our country and our achievements. Our country was full of new products that helped the quality of daily life and they were being made by people who were making good money, living well and knowing they were making the highest quality products in the world. No one questioned that. At the same time we were more relaxed, happier, more content and peaceful in our daily lives and less pressured, after all my parents grew up in the depression and as young adults lived through WWII, everything seemed easy after that. It was the easy, wonderful times and with that came great music and movies and quality radio and TV shows. Television was still a new thing and one guy really fit the mood of the times. Perry Como had his first big hit toward the end of WWII but after the war when TV was just entering every household this young, good looking, laid back, nice guy was just what American’s wanted. He was one of the elite crooners of the era but his style especially fit the needs of the early television viewers. His music felt good and he was a good and nice person, which was important to the viewers of the time. Perry went on for the next 30 plus years on TV and especially at Christmas his specials were a must see of the times. In retrospect he is viewed as pretty square with an out of date sound and attitude, but I can tell you from having lived in that era, we could all use a little “Perry Christmas” now.