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Grumpy Old Men – Part 2

Last week I wrote about grumpy old men who are more concerned about them than the 35,000 kids under 18 years of age who reside in Houston County. If I gave the perception that recreation is only for the kids, I am sorry, that was not my intent. Recreation is for the grumpy old men too. The type of recreation of which I speak is for everyone: swimming pools, jogging tracks, bike and hiking trails, parks, recreation centers and whatever else fits in recreation. We have a dearth of recreation opportunities for many in our community, unless you can pay for it at the local privately run organizations, which do a great job by the way. I’m not complaining about the private folks at all, I am complaining that recreation is not on the top 10 priority list of governing bodies, at least historically, in our fair county.

This SPLOST has some significant recreation spending in it, which is fantastic. That alone is reason enough for me to support the new SPLOST. You don’t get parks and natatoriums in Houston County unless it is a SPLOST. So that spending is a good start. I’m all for it.

But there are new road projects too, and why not incorporate some recreation in that planning? I’d like to see consideration for bike and walking trails alongside new road construction, but not “in” the road. As the network of trails expands, it will become more evident that the people enjoy that option instead of traditional sidewalks. So the grumpy old men can stand up at county meetings and suggest that more be done for recreation, while supporting the paving over of Houston County in the process.

Some of the recreational opportunities I’d like to see include opening up our school’s athletic venues to recreation as well, as weekends and after school hours are not a reason to shut down wonderful facilities. Grumpy old men could be the ones to staff or manage a particular school’s usage. I think grumpy old men are looking for a chance to get involved, on a volunteer basis, if given the chance. The younger folks are working and can’t do it, but the retirees can lend a hand, other than simply paying taxes.

The Greatest Generation will quickly lose their title if it becomes us versus them. If the grumpy old men get so concerned about what the government owes them instead of focusing on the next generation, it seems to me that they have lost their focus. Turning 65, or 70, or 80, doesn’t mean retirement from society. We need the grumpy old men to continue their service. Not everyone will be Hazel Colson, I get that. Hazel, if you didn’t know, has logged in over 70 years in nursing in our community and is known as Huggin’ Hazel. Hazel said: “Retirement to me means not living, as long as I am able to help people I will continue to use God’s gift.” (HHJ, Jan. 28, 2015). She’s an example to all of us, even the grumpy old men.

So all you old geezers, are you willing to step out of the house and help this community offer more opportunities in recreation? Some of the stuff I’ve proposed hasn’t happened yet, but if I get a few volunteers, we can start a movement to get our community moving! While that movement gets underway, join a local civic club, volunteer at a school or offer your time and money to any worthwhile endeavor that serves the community. We need you.

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