It’s the one with where the players move along a path interspersed with different height ladders their colored playing piece can “climb” or varying length sliding boards — or “chutes” — down which the piece representing that player can slide. We used to have great fun playing that simple game that, if we paid any attention whatsoever, reinforces a simple fact of life: On the path to wherever your life destination, sometimes you’ll climb the ladder to the next level, but sometimes you’ll land on a chute that carries you backward — sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Wherever your path takes you, keep rolling the die and never give up; you’ll eventually reach your destination.
Such is the case with the latest in the saga of Winder’s Granite Hotel. If you read this space with any regularity, you may recall my excitement over the prospect of the Landmark Group riding to the rescue of the oldest masonry building in Winder, the last of its kind in the state of Georgia. We envisioned a new life for the old girl and prayed Landmark would be its hero on the white horse.
Alas, an out-of-town redeemer was not to be the case, so Landmark goes on the heap with the succession of investors and developers who have shown interest in our Granite Hotel.
So we move our playing piece back to “start” and roll the die once more.
We have pussyfooted around with this for some time now. We let the old Baptist Church fall to ruin almost two years ago. I would think the bitter memory of seeing that distinctive piece of our history lie in ruins would be enough to spur some folks to some kind of activity.
What we find instead is a very small, but determined, nucleus of folks who want to see not only the significant buildings of downtown Winder, but those of Auburn, Bethlehem, Carl, Statham, and unincorporated communities of Barrow County come back to life and become contributors to the life of their hometown.
But we wait. And wait. For what? We wait for somebody with no ties, no history, no memory of our communities to ride through town, see a great old building, and be willing to drop a lot of money, time and effort into restoring it to its former glory. We don’t want to get involved. Somebody might get their feelings hurt if we suggest something that goes against their agenda. We go to church with so-and-so so we can’t say anything about that. We play golf or bridge with so-and-so’s spouse, so we don’t want to take a chance that something with which we’re involved would create a problem for them. We’re in a civic organization with so-and-so and he/she feels so strongly about this issue or that, we don’t want to take a chance we’ll create unpleasantness at the club meeting.
So we sit on our hands. We “tsk” and cluck and talk about the woes of our community. Meanwhile, we wait for somebody to come bail us out of the dilemma we created for ourselves.
We wait for somebody else to pick up our shoes, wash our dirty laundry, press out the wrinkles and make us presentable for public scrutiny. We wait for somebody else to recognize what great “bones” our community has so they can coddle and nurture those bones back to life something like the valley of dry bones in the Book of Ezekiel.
In other words, we’re just sittin’ on our butts — and we get what we deserve.
There’s a group of us who want to see the Granite Hotel saved because if it’s gonna happen, we’re gonna have to get off our butts to do it.
Nobody is sitting around with a fat checkbook. We’re going to have to have fundraisers and membership drives and apply for public and private grants and develop a plan and talk with the Mayor and Council and build a website and attend meetings to figure out how to regroup when something doesn’t work as we’d hoped.
Thursday nights beginning June 10th, we’ll be meeting from 6:45 until 8:45 p.m. at the Old Barrow County Courthouse in downtown Winder.
We need YOU — no matter how much or how little you think you can plug in, we need everybody who has an interest in saving our buildings and seeing them contribute to our communities again. If you can’t come for the whole meeting, come for what you can. Got a question? E-mail me at HelenPerson@windstream.net.
We’re sittin’ in the dirt at the bottom of the sliding board, y’all. We need YOU to help get to the top of the ladder and back on our way. If you don’t help, don’t complain.
Helen Person is a columnist for the Barrow Journal. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.