Madison....it's our little town, not so much size as spirit. A town filled with folks who wave each other through intersections with a friendly nod or a wave. Drive by the firehouse at any time of day and you may see firemen outside who'll wave hello. Teachers have taught whole families and some of their children.
Just as Bob Dylan sang, "Times they are a-changin'" As a newcomer of almost 15 years, I've seen lots of change myself. Where there were horse pastures, there are McMansions. Intersections have stop lights where there were none. Academy School has closed. The Surf Club has a plastic playground. The library has plastic library cards. Starbucks is here and our crosswalks have lights and blonking sounds.
Madison is home. We like the people...all generations...through our friends and neighbors, church, schools, sports and volunteering...."our" little town and they're the reason we're here. The Surf Club too.
Tonight I saw lots of familiar faces from town at Polson Middle School for the Board of Education 2012-13 Budget Meeting. It's awesome to hear townspeople speak so passionately about our town. Newcomers, old timers, teachers, volunteers, politicians, moms, dads, grandparents, kids....all wanting the best for our community and myriad opinions.
Spending money wisely, saving for the future, utilizing what we have to satisfy a multitude of needs...like a family budget in a bad economy, we do our best to make a dollar dance. Always and forever, town budget meetings draw the same crowds....senior citizens with grown children, high taxes and fixed incomes...young parents with new mortgages and kids starting school...teachers with tight classrooms and kids of their own....on and on.
The public are invited to the microphone. Two minutes. Comments on the budget. All kinds. Succinct. Businesslike. Drone. Lecture. Whine. Bark. The drone always takes too much time....six minutes, losing attention of even supporters. Heads nod, hands clap and eyes roll as individuals step away from the microphone.
Listen...listen...listen...we all listen. I respect the senior citizens...and empathize...after all, I had parents. I relate to the moms and dads who want the best for their kids....just as the generations before us. Who does like taxes going up? Old or young? I hear grandparents who amaze me by their loving support of the future generations. I hear proud people speak of the place they chose to call home. I commend all who stood to speak.
Every budget meeting brings out the young and the old...and the in between. I may fit into the in between category these days. It's a scary world....for all of us. We all have concerns about the economy and the future and our parents and our children. Wouldn't it be nice if we could look out for each other and find a way to make it all work for the good? Without fear? Without anger? Seriously.