A sense of humor can make good days delightful. Conversely, a sense of humor won’t make bad days delightful, but it can help, and will often make those bad days at least bearable. Humor is a lot like cooking, some people do it plain and simple, and some serve it up with spice! I’ve known folks with a raw sense of humor that made my stomach turn, just like raw food might, but every now and then a raw, humorous observation will double me up in laughter. It takes a true chef to make something good out of something raw. Humor, like food, can be raw or rare or medium. It can be good when well done, but is almost always bad when overdone. Like food, humor can be nourishing or sickening, and we should choose carefully, but we don’t always get to choose because sometimes, as a guest, we just have to endure a taste of whatever is being served while politely refusing a second serving. When you’re in the humor buffet line, look for the good stuff, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Through all of this, the most important thing is to keep your sense of humor. There will be times when you’ll lose it, but if you do, look and try to find it, and when you find it, smile and chuckle and hopefully you will soon laugh, loud and long and often, and life will be better because you have a healthy sense of humor.

That’s my opinion on the importance of a sense of humor, but if you need another, perhaps more authoritative reference, consider what these famous folks had to say about it.

“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” — Reba McEntire.

“A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable.” — Billy Graham.

And my personal favorite, “A sense of humor is just common sense dancing.” — William James.

Be kind, and keep laughing White Springs!

Merri and I were traveling this past week and here are some of my “on the road” observations that may somehow relate to life in White Springs. We were on the road to two major destinations, The National Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky, and Ashville, North Carolina, to visit my sister. An en route stop at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park was a powerful experience, and visiting the site, to borrow words from the song “Kennesaw Line,” forever etched upon my mind the day that hell broke loose just north of Marietta all along the Kennesaw line. The Kennesaw Visitors Center was excellent, offering a small museum with period artifacts, a film about the battle, a well-stocked gift shop, information, water and bathrooms. To make the experience even more profound, we had driven to the site on the night before our visit and sat in the car listening to Terry Campbell’s haunting rendition of the namesake song, “Kennesaw Line.” Terry had performed at the White Springs Folk Club years ago and hearing him sing this moving ballad while sitting at the place that inspired it — well let’s just say that the tears flowed freely as we listened and were transported back in time. The experience reminded me that we have so much to offer the tourist in White Springs; we just need to do a better job of marketing and presentation.

The National Quilt show in Paducah, Ky., also inspired my hopes for White Springs. Years ago, the good people of Paducah embraced the art of quilting and made it the centerpiece of a booming tourist trade. Thousands attended two large convention centers chock full of quilts and it was very interesting, yes even to the men who had trudged along with their spouses. It all started with the help of an inspired vision and the assistance of some benefactors. Practical, affordable plans were made, squabbles were kept to a minimum and the community got behind the vision and made it happen. We can do this! North Florida does not have to be a forgotten, overlooked Florida.

Then it was on to the Ashville, N.C., area where, instead of going to the Biltmore or downtown Ashville to the big, well-known and pricey destinations, we visited the Carl Sandburg home in nearby Flat Rock, a little town not much bigger than White Springs. Tours of the home of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet and journalist reveal so much about one of the great literary giants of our country, and the presentation is so well done that today the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic site attracts more than 85,000 visitors a year. This visit to the small community of Flat Rock made me think about the potential we have here in White Springs, where we already have a memorial to one of the greatest American songwriters, Stephen Foster. We have all the essential building blocks in White Springs and I am hopeful that we will soon put them to good use!

Exciting news for White Springs! Tourism pays big dividends! Bicycling is already a big attraction here and The Suwannee Bicycle Association (SBA) is generously donating $1,000 to the "STEM in the Park," a K-12 summer enrichment program that will take place in Stephen Foster State Park, beginning June 17, and ending July 26. The program theme is "Energy and the Environment." This program is a part of a new non-profit organization called "The Project HOPE, Inc." formed by Dr. Helen Miller. It’s wonderful to have good neighbors like SBA supporting this effort to enhance the education of our White Springs kids. How can you show your appreciation? This weekend there will be about 400 bicyclists in town for SBA’s Spring Peddle and Paddle and IDIDARIDE events. Please, remember that these are good and generous folks and they deserve a good and generous share of the road when they are cycling. Don’t blast your horn at them; just give them a friendly wave and their fair share of the road. Show them you appreciation and say “Thanks Suwannee Bike!”

Well, once again I’ve said enough but, as always, I do want to remind you that if you have news you want to share, you should let “Life in White Springs” help. We’re always glad to hear about goings on in the community and will be glad to share anything that is appropriate for this column. I am thankful that we truly are all connected, and I hope that we can continue to feel proud of who we are and where we’re headed, and that we all appreciate how White Springs and its surrounding region is a very special place, to be honored and protected. As always, I look forward to seeing you out and about, sharing your sense of humor and enjoying your community and your life in White Springs.

Walter McKenzie



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