Letters for 02-22-2018

Reflecting on four years in this chair
The pump was primed to do this last week
when Stephen Ellis had a better story to tell
that dovetailed from one shared here a week
earlier about the, ďHey, you may be my dadĒ
phone call I recently received.
On the occasion of our fourth year together,
it seemed logical to board the maybenot-
so-Wayback Machine and look back at
some of the things weíve shared during the
authorís time at The Gazette.
Youíve learned lots about my past, warts
and all. Itís part of why I am who I am today,
so I have to own the parts of my life that
werenít very pleasing to many people and
most displeasing to God. Someone told me
again not too long ago that Iíd be a good
candidate for elective office because my opponents
couldnít drag any skeletons out of
my closet because Iíve taken care of that.
Probably just as frequently as my past
has been used part of the fare you find here,
how God has changed my life over the last
24 years has been another frequent topic.
I may have grown tired of writing about
Reggie Skains, but Iíll never grow tired of
bragging on God and what Heís done in my
life and others and is more than willing to
do in yours if youíll let Him.
About Reggie. In a sense, I miss him. He
made my job easy in that he was almost
always doing something Ė or not doing
something, as the case may be Ė that was
newsworthy. I said it before and Iíll say it
again: His work to help organize what is
now Downsville Community Charter School
was important to the community. The way
things ended up before he was finally ushered
off into the sunset was really rather
Itís been great to see attention from
outside Union Parish focused on Lake
DíArbonne. This weekend, one of two national
tournaments scheduled for the lake
in the next 12 months will pull into town.
The spotlight they bring, focused initially
by the efforts of local folks, has brought
national attention to the 15,000-acre hole
in the middle of the parish. Now if only we
had somewhere they all could stay and leave
their tax dollars Ö
Itís been a blessing to see the collective
heart and individual organs of the people
of the parish rally to support an incredible
variety of causes. From support for families
dealing with difficult circumstances
to community-wide needs, the people of
UP have gone over and above what others
would. And itís not that people in other
parishes couldnít, because they can. They
just donít like they do here, where folks just
find a way to help. Whether itís monetarily,
like the pool at Lake DíArbonne State Park
a few years ago, or putting in sweat equity
to help their neighbors Ė even folks who
were complete strangers Ė following the
flood of 2016, residents of Union Parish have
shown a remarkably generous spirit to help,
regardless of the need.
When it comes to opening your pocketbooks,
to say folks are skeptical is an understatement.
Voters OKd a $45 million tax
package to overhaul schools that were in sad
shape but voted against two relatively minor
tax proposals that help fund operations at
the schools. Thereís a reason the UP ranks
near the top of lowest property tax rates in
the state Ė voters here donít forget real or
perceived efforts to pull one over on them.
Enough looking back. Hereís to trusting
our next four years together will be just as
memorable for reasons even better than
Mark Rainwater may be reached at the
offices of The Gazette, 104 N. Washington
in Farmerville, by calling 318.368.9732 or by
emailing mark@fgazette.com.