If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
— Bob Dylan —
There are probably 364 songs about change, but I thought I’d use a Bob Dylan tune to sorta start this column.
He has a scratchy voice and looks disheveled most of the time — from the photos I’ve seen of him.
Just something about him that makes him seem old school.
I’m all about old school.
Change has been on my mind a lot lately.
If you live in Clinton, it’s probably been on yours as well.
In five years people won’t recognize this city. The pathways leading into Clinton — from U.S. 25W and I-75 — will take on a new look.
Some like change. Some don’t.
But change is coming.
Change happens everywhere.
When I first moved to Tennessee, Farragut was a little offshoot of Knoxville. There were still farms in Farragut.
The Emory Road exit in Powell was a dusty crossroad. Nobody got off on Emory Road unless they needed a potty break.
There was an airport — well, landing strip for small planes — in Powell.
Clinton is well on its way to being the next hot market.
Is it possible to be that and still be the city that we all love as a quiet kinda place? A city that runs to its own rhythm, its own beat, its own time?
I hope so.
Sure, let’s get in the eateries and big box stores and the small niche outlets and the strip malls.
Let’s look at Clinton’s expanding recreation facilities that hold the promise of bringing visitors from far and wide.
But let’s stay Clinton, OK?
Can we keep our “small city” charm? Will the bright lights of success ruin us?
Can we still greet people with a friendly smile and warm handshake because we know them — we know about them, we know their family, we know a little of their history.
Those kinds of greetings can be seen in the twinkle of eyes when you see someone you haven’t seen around town in a while and you are genuinely happy to see them.
Because you know them.
Will we still cherish our institutions and traditions?
Will Hoskins Drug Store and Soda Fountain still be the place to see and be seen at lunch?
The Ritz Theater is and always will be the best bargain for a night out at the movies — but will we appreciate that?
Those businesses are more than businesses, they’re Clinton.
They are a part of the history and fabric of this city.
They are part of the DNA of this city.
You can look at Fox Toyota for a glimpse of what can be.
After becoming “big time,” and then moving to the interstate, Fox Toyota still holds that small city charm.
It’s still Clinton.
I’m not sure if people buy cars there for the cars as much as they do because of the people at Fox Toyota who treat them like a member of the family.
That’s how it should be done; that’s how it should work.
Let it change then. But let’s not let these changes change us.
Let’s still greet people with a smile, a twinkle in the eye, and a firm handshake.
No matter where they come from, once they’re here these people become Clinton.
The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’