Last year, I did a year-in-review column and, having re-read it, I liked it so much that I thought I would do it again. Hey, if Dale Hansen can do his “Thank God for Kids” video year after year, why can’t I start a tradition, too?
I can’t mention everyone, so read carefully and see if you or one of your friends gets a shout out!
“The Birthday Song”
Do you know or remember that song from the Beatles? “They say it’s your birthday! Well, it’s my birthday, too, yeah!” If I had to pick one major theme song for 2011, it would be that one as we celebrated 100 years of White Rock Lake.
And how could we have celebrated it the way we did without the leadership of Reena Morris and Darren Boruff? Of course, if you spend even five minutes with either of them, they are quick to mention the dozens of other organizations who helped make it happen.
We have met Sam Leake, who has been key in bringing rowing to White Rock and revitalizing the Filter Building as a rental venue. I was so impressed to learn that proceeds from those rentals help fund scholarships for local high school students to participate in the White Rock crew teams. In fact, I know a young lady who is graduating this year and got a rowing scholarship to Alabama solely because of her involvement with his brain child. Thank you, Sam!
Did you get to meet your neighbors Marty Van Kleek and Ronnie Claire Edwards, who add so much to our performing arts offerings at the Bath House Cultural Center? What a great job they are doing! But remember that there might not have been a White Rock Lake without the Buhrer Family and their forebear, Jacob.
It was his dairy farm that became the site for what is now White Rock Lake. It was such fun to meet his descendants who took so much pride and interest in their family history, and its contribution to the development of this area.
And what a way to cap off the festivities…fireworks! Jeff Snoyer and Highland Park Cafeteria were at the core of that memorable event. Thank you to everyone – from the drink servers and cooks, to the financiers who pulled it off.
“Get On Your Feet”
The popular 1980s hit by Gloria Estefan has in its refrain “Get on your feet. Get up and make it happen… Get on your feet! Stand up and take some action!” That’s why it is another theme song for this year because of all the people we met who did exactly that.
Pediatric dentist Dane Huong started a foundation to provide dental care and educational opportunities for children in her homeland of Vietnam. Sam McKenzie didn’t let blindness stop him from coaching and playing on a baseball team for the blind. Arlen Sauer refused to allow his stammer to interfere with the relationship with his daughter or his employment.
What began as heart therapy became a life-directing passion for triathlete Linda Page, now one of the oldest Iron Man Triathlon competitors! Go Linda! Running is not just for the two-legged, however. Did you meet Skye the Wonderdog who just loves to run and run and run even in scorching summer heat? Keep up, owner Tom Proctor, that dog’s a fast one!
And who can forget octogenarian Frances James, the Cemetery Lady? She decided to make something happen one day by cleaning up one cemetery near her home and became the authority on all 200 cemeteries in Dallas county, several of which we pass by each day on Skillman and by the lake. I think it’s hysterical that she does not want a headstone of her own. “Too much work to maintain,” she said.
“Hey Good Lookin’, watchya got cookin?”
This 1950s Hank Williams tune sums up the doings of other White Rockers making things happen. We’ve met several folks in the ’hood who heated up their entrepreneurial spirit and began or grew their businesses.
Wholesome Foods Bakery moved into their own space to serve the growing numbers of us who have to manage life without gluten (think cookies, bread, pizza, cake, muffins…) Their stuff is delicious and meets such a need. Mike Drake drums us into a jazzy mood at Times Ten Cellars on a regular basis and Stoney’s Fine Wines can outfit any picnic or party if you just tell Stone Savage what you need. Be sure to check out his “Thai Rack.” Katie Fagelman launched her le Café playhouses and AJ Ortega is trying to keep all of our kids’ teeth straight in his White Rock Orthodontic’s practice!
I said it last year and I’ll say it again. Maybe I’ll say it every year:
Lean in! If you are not plugged in to some sort of group around here – a cycling club, a service organization, an art source, the Arboretum… something, then pick one! There are so many to choose. There is much work to be done. There are many friends to make. And in the end, all of us enrich each other by getting engaged in the life of our community. You are what make us… well… US. East Dallas. We rock the Rock!
As we look ahead to 2012, I look forward to meeting more and more of you, my neighbors, and in sharing my visits with the rest of you each week.
So read. Make suggestions to me of people you think I ought to meet! But most of all – get out there and meet your neighbors.