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Mon, Sep 22, 2014 04:15 PM
Issue of September 17, 2014
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Today's reality calls for change


Community conversations


March 26, 2014 | 10:21 AM

It amazes me that every spring the wind transforms the scruffy landscape of winter into a clear vision. It is as though Mother Nature uses her wind-broom to sweep away all the debris. Out my farmhouse window, I can see for miles through the leafless trees. Everything looks level, cleared and mowed. Maybe it is this phenomenon that stirred the first homemakers to do their "spring cleaning."

It is true, the clear blue skies of the first warm days seem to give us the energy to leave our winter lethargy behind and tackle old problems in a new way. There will still be cool, rainy and muddy days ahead, but the confidence that we can get out and flourish in the coming months sparks our ambition. Everything seems possible on this new clean slate.

Not only do open fields and woods seem to be ready to send forth new growth, but our towns and neighborhoods do as well. It is time for us to do some spring cleaning on behalf of our community's welfare.

On one of the ultra-windy days of the past weeks, I was called to check on a tin roof that was flapping around. I hate to admit it, but the building with the damaged roof is in downtown Corydon and it is owned by me. There was no way I could get distracted by snow, leaves or flourishing greenery. There was the old, beat-up storage shed exposed to the bright sunlight of spring, and it was not a pretty picture. To all of you who have read my rantings of the need to fix up our communities, I pledge that building will look different as soon as I can get together men with hammers and paint.

I recently have been forced to look at other cluttered parts of my home. Marrying a new husband in my later years has caused some adjustments. In the past couple of weeks, we have emptied his home in order to sell it. This took some serious sorting. One of his bolder children asked me where we intended to put the contents of the truck that headed down Interstate 65 to our farm. He had toured the place and realized an oncoming overload. It was all good stuff from both my husband's house and mine but, as a couple, some of it didn't have the high priority it had in the past and some was just out of date. Thus, I had to clean out the basement of the barn in which we live. We had to make one trip to the dumpster, one trip to Goodwill and one trip to pass off treasures to my kids and friends.

To celebrate the clearing of the basement for its new life, we went to Alberto's in Corydon. I found this Italian restaurant to be a fitting place for such an occasion. The dinner spot at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Chestnut Street has served up conversation and good food for many years. Some of you may still refer to its location as Jocko's (Jock's Lunch). For countless years, it was the place to pick up the pulse of the city. Businessmen congregated for a cup of coffee before starting a day's work. It was a wonderful restaurant to find a hamburger and some friends for lunch. After a high school basketball game, the place was packed. It was the kind of spot one wants in a hometown. But the years found the need for new ownership, and a series of attempts were made to recreate the camaraderie of Jocko Timberlake's restaurant.

On this my second trip to the new Alberto's, I found that the spirit of the place exists today. The food was outstanding; the atmosphere is provided by lighting, music and wall hangings; and the chatter of the patrons brought that spirit back. Local residents, tourists and visiting relatives chatted with each other, commented on the thrill of such a place in Corydon and hoped that it could help draw other attractive venues to Harrison County. When we asked for our bill, the delightful waitress presented us with a small cell phone through which she ran our credit card. We were instructed to press the screen for the amount of tip we wanted to leave and to sign our name. We had three options for a receipt: a text on our phone, an e-mail or no record at all. Now, is that high tech or what? And it happened at the corner of Chestnut and Capitol.

Change is a rapid reality today. We in Harrison County need to do some housecleaning. No longer are empty buildings economically acceptable. Weeds, vacant lots and downtown sheds like mine are out of step with the expectations of today's shoppers, residents and tourists. It will take more than hammers and paint to keep us up with 21st century standards. We need to form a group, do some brain storming, call for public input, create a plan and assign responsibilities to carry out that plan. Put on your thinking hats and meet me here in this column in a couple of weeks.

Schwartz Family Restaurant
Debby Broughton
Schuler Bauer Real Estate
Alberto's Italian Restaurant
Barbara Shaw
Best Built
Corydon Instant Print
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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 1-812-738-2211 email