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Adele Elliott: Changes


Adele Elliott



June is considered a romantic month. More brides choose this month than any other. I''m not sure why they do. It certainly is not the prettiest, or the most temperate. Maybe it is because school has just ended and recent college grads can begin their new life with a new wife (or husband). It is a month for big changes. 


Here, in the South, June is too hot to even think of celebrating, or changing much more that our damp and droopy clothes. Chris and I have almost completely abandoned "porch time." We hide from the mosquitoes and palmetto bugs in the coolness of air-conditioning. I miss the fireflies, only catching a flash of their fairy-like twinkle when I let Cordelia and Charlotte out of the back door. It''s unlikely that they miss me as much. All that "ahhing" and overreaction probably just annoys little bugs. 


Once a thing changes, it is never quite the same. Grads can go back to school. Marriages can crumble. But, the soul has shifted a bit, for better or for worse. 


In Columbus, we try our best to evade change. Houses on exhibit are completely "in the period," sometimes the hostesses are in epoch-appropriate dress, as well. It''s fun to see how people of another era lived. However, no one would really want to relive a past that had no indoor plumbing or Novocain. Give me warm showers and painless dentistry. 


Change can be a good thing (please excuse such a cliché), especially when it comes as gentle progress. Technology has evolved at a pace that makes it very nearly possible to keep up. (I''m talking about those in the generation of my teenaged niece.) But, even "mature" baby boomers, like me, have adapted to computers and cell phones and the magic of TiVo. I just love that live-freeze feature. 


Abrupt change is a bit harder to deal with, probably because it is usually so destructive. The oil damage in the Gulf can never be fixed. Haitians are living in tents and shanty towns made of trash. Even the effects of Hurricane Katrina, almost five years ago, are still evident in New Orleans and on the coast. (Not to mention the damaged psyches of entire populations.) 


We''ve all heard that Columbus is getting some new hotels. The hottest buzz around town is that several stylish shops and restaurants are moving in. This is change to get excited about. Not only will there be some place new to buy those wedding and graduation gifts, but it means that our economy is looking up. Big business thinks so. I do, too. 


The face of the city will get a little lift. With new hotels and shops and restaurants, our "skyline" and shape are bound to alter a bit; our self image, as well, I guess. 


Most of us don''t want Columbus to develop a big-city persona. The crime and traffic that accompany urban growth are truly not desirable. Now, metropolitan shopping and dining, that sounds great. 


How fantastic it would be if we could just keep the pleasing changes and reject dangerous ones. Few cities ever get that choice. Often, they grow like kudzu, wild and chaotic. In some ways we are in an ideal position. Columbus is still small enough to choose our transformations. Let''s hope we make the right decisions and maintain our romantic ambiance.


Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.


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