Thereís no place like home
In some ways, Iím still a relative newcomer to Berryville and Carroll County. Although Iíve been here seven years now, the new hasnít really worn off.
Having lived in some not-so-prosperous and not-so-beautiful parts of Arkansas, I still appreciate the opportunity to live and work in such a beautiful place that has a real spirit of community.
That community spirit was on full display last Thursday at the Greater Berryville Chamber of Commerceís Awards Banquet. The banquet is an annual event, but COVID-19 caused it to be canceled in 2020. This yearís event included the 2020 awards, and empty seats were few and far between.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson was the featured speaker, and he was as interesting and entertaining as always. Rex is an outspoken advocate for all that is good about Arkansas, and heís also an ardent supporter of good journalism and local newspapers like this one.
Rex spoke about Arkansasí diversity and its changing demographics. We are fortunate in Carroll County to still be growing, but much of the state is not. As Rex said, it will be a challenge as that trend continues to maintain a sense of unity among Arkansans.
Rex also shared some memories of time spent in Carroll County, including a touching story about his fatherís final float trip on the Kings River. He talked about the natural beauty thatís all around us here.
As he neared the end of his remarks, Rex talked about speaking at a similar banquet in a Delta town that was struggling economically and losing population. He sought advice from another speaker about what to say in that situation and was told ďyou look those people straight in the eye and you lie.Ē
ďI donít have to lie in Berryville,Ē he said. ďYouíve got it going on.Ē
As I said at the beginning of this column, living here still feels like a new experience to me. Thatís probably because I spent the first 45 years of my life somewhere else. I probably have a different perspective than someone who has lived here all their life.
But Iím here now to tell you, this is a special, special place and we are all incredibly blessed to be here.