In the popular original television series and later the big screen hits, Captain Kirk from Star Trek had a knack for being able to swing around a moon or two, go back in time, and alter the consequences of a previous action.
He did it in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” where he and the key characters from the original series went back in time in order to save the planet. It took a couple of humpback whales and a nuclear aircraft carrier called Enterprise before it was all over but Kirk demonstrated how some bad decisions – man’s relentless pursuit of whales was the example – could be reversed for the betterment of humanity.
And of course, Mr. Spock could not tell a lie.
We may not be so lucky on this galaxy ride. Our actions have consequences. When we mess up, we correct and move on. But the damage can be irrevocable. And yes, even with New Year’s resolutions, a little embellishment never seems to evade some people.
It is a new year, and everyone has made their New year’s resolutions. Some have decided to eat healthier. Others have decided to give up something, usually smoking or sweets or coffee. A few have decided to hit the gym in order to shed a few pounds. That is usually the most frequently broken resolution, as those who made it realize fairly quickly it is simply easier to overindulge and feel bad about it later than to actually hop on the treadmill.
We aren’t saying we agree with that outlook, as we’re sure the good people at Healthy Oxford Hills are cringing right now, wondering what we may be about to give license in terms of unhealthy lifestyles. We’re just saying some people cannot keep a New Year’s resolution, especially when it comes to food.
So, instead of people making resolutions they may not feel compelled – or able – to keep, here’s a thought. Let’s resolve to imagine a place in Western Maine where people don’t have to tell anyone what they plan to give up or do more of. They can simply imagine what the outcome would be if we really put our minds to it.
Imagine downtown Norway with a string of endless shops, an independent movie theater and an ice skating rink where people don’t have to depend on the elements for some slipping and sliding. It would be good for the local economy, and would give wayward youth a place to spend time, money and energy. Beats walking on a frozen lake.
Imagine the Town of Oxford being more stringent with the Oxford Casino and the hotel developers when it comes to expansion. What about making sure such developments are environmentally friendly and not an intrusion on the natural landscape.
Imagine a town meeting in Paris where refreshments are served after the Selectboard meeting and everyone gets along. Ok, we may be asking too much.
Imagine cool temeratures for the Norway Arts Festival and smaller gaps between artists’ booths. Still, it’s a marvelous festival.
Imagine a new Family Dollar in South Paris housed inside a replica structure of the 1800s and situated on a commercial lot dropped back from the street, and landscaped all around. Wasn’t it the character Leo Farnsworth (Warren Beatty) in “Heaven Can Wait” who said the big corporation could be the good guy?
Imagine the state of Maine lending assistance to towns in Western Maine for upkeep of their cemeteries, especially the ones for veterans.
Imagine a Veterans Day Parade that starts in South Paris and comes to Norway. Erect stands and key points – McLaughlin Garden & Homestead, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, The American Legion in Norway and the Opera House would be good locations. Make sure to invite Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel or one of his deputies early on. The people and their government need to know Maine’s history when it comes to wars.
Imagine the Norway Opera House and the Gingerbread House bursting at the doors with huge crowds coming for their grand openings. It could be a festive occasion where all the shops, restaurants and coffee shops remain open late. Clearly the new year’s resolution on coffee will have to be suspended.
Imagine schools in Western Maine demonstrating to the rest of the state that charter schools are not good for the area. Imagine parents from every school in Oxford Hills, Poland and Buckfield attending every parent-teacher meeting every time one is held throughout the school year. Imagine telling Teach for America to allow citizens to run their own schools without the help of the overly entitled and under qualified.
Those are good places to start. There are a lot more challenges ahead, things that need to be done, problems that need to be solved. But we need to get going on a few first. There are only 363 days left.
We can do this. And just think. We don’t need Captain James Kirk’s starship or Mr. Spock’s Vulcan mind meld.
Happy New Year!
The Advertiser Democrat Editorial Board