As we stand together looking down the path of a new year, Crossett, the possibilities are endless. What does 2021 hold for our community? It’s a question some of us surely pondered 365 days ago as we chartered the new territory of 2020. And now, knowing what we know, perhaps  your pondering is laced with more apprehension than hope.

That’s certainly understandable — but maybe, instead, we can come together over the idea that no matter what the new year holds, we can accept it and we will find ways to enjoy it. There will come a time when you look back on this very day as the good ol’ days — and what bigger tragedy is there  than wishing you had enjoyed what is already gone?

It might be easy to complain about what 2020 brought us; it has certainly become a popular pastime. But before you fold 2020 away along with the Christmas lights, trees and stockings, it does us good to realize that good things happened. 

Weddings took place, albeit differently, and at some — like mine, for example — they held irreplaceable moments like Papa giving me away not long before he died. 

Even things like funerals, for example, Crossett native Harriet Barnett’s,  brought people home who have not been here in a while. Birthday parties survived by becoming parades. Years from now you can ask little Jaxon Avant about his best birthday memory, and the one in 2020 will likely be one he mentions. Life marched on, leaving in its wake the knowledge that no matter what we face we can reshape it into a reality under which we thrive.

That is part of how humanity demonstrates its sustainability, made more possible by being together in community. We are not designed for seclusion, and because of that, Crossett Parks and Recreation is exercising some creativity regarding events that gather us in the same area. When possible, our events will be outdoors. If they must be inside, like for shows at the Auditorium, we will orchestrate a layout that incorporates appropriate social distance for participants. We will utilize social media live coverage to bring the community into the homes of those not quite ready or not quite able to gather. Watching our events from afar can still help well up the fountain of Crossett pride in you that helps grow community. 

We will also host more beautification projects that you can participate in while practicing the social distancing regime you choose. Those projects include our murals and painted storm drains and — upcoming in the New Year — painted fire hydrants. Come April, we hope to descend on Hancock Road to pick  up litter and discarded  furniture and tires.

While Parks and Recreation will no doubt help organize other projects, there are still places where community volunteers can help on their own. Some of the gutters lining Main Street need to be cleared of mud and growing grass and dead leaves. Some of  our sidewalks throughout the city need the same sort of clearing. The island in Lucas Pond needs attention. 

Community can be defined as a feeling of fellowship with others. Claiming ownership in our sweet city at the street level can help foster that fellowship. We can connect to others just through the common goal of taking care of our town.

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