Although the pumpkin head may throw you off, I took this picture on December 30th, coming home from the after-Christmas sales. I took a back road, swung through Huntersville’s old “mill village” and almost directly across the railroad tracks saw the sign.
Initially, I pulled my car over and took a photo with my cell phone, simply because there was so much in the visual to think about — the pumpkin, the hand-lettered sign, the sparseness of the house. In the last couple of days, I’ve thought more about it and realized what an important lesson this photo has for the new year.
In the final days of 2011, news commentators, editorials, politicos alike commented on their hopes for the new year, hopes that 2012 would be better that 2011, because 2011, they said, “was tough”.
And it was. As mayor, I know our town experienced budget constraints, I received a number of requests from unemployed citizens (“If you could pass along my resume…”), and calls from people looking for emergency housing. My own family suffered a job loss, an unexpected surgery and financial constraints.
But Huntersville was able to attract several new corporations to locate here and help diversify our tax base, we were able to save close to $12 million by purchasing an existing building for our police station instead of building a new one, our crime rate went down. My husband was able to find a new job, we have medical insurance again and although still tight, our financial constraints are not as dire as they seemed three months ago.
So the photo of the sign to the “robbers” tells me quite a bit: Even though we all may have had things taken from us this year, even though someone or something entered our comfort zone and created chaos, and even though at some point in the year many of us were momentarily taken off course…at least the thing or things most important to us are still okay. At least we have each other. At least we have our health.
At least we have the dog.
Happy New Year, Everyone!