I am thankful for my beautiful oak trees. Lining opposite sides of my grand boulevards, their gnarled limbs reach out to another like God’s finger did to Adam in one of Michelangelo’s finest works, creating a canopy of comfort for all who call me home.
I am thankful for hydrogen and oxygen and how their union provides me with flowing rivers, tranquil bays and the almighty Gulf, who usually gives so much more than it takes away. My water is my lifeblood.
I am thankful for each day the sun make its morning creep out of those waters and melts right back in at the end of the day.
I am thankful for my people, who outsiders may say really put the loony in “sweet lunacy’s county seat.” No doubt there is a little crazy in all of them, but there is way more sweet. They take care of each other in so many ways, whether it’s cleaning our waterways, filling up pantries or rescuing strays. My people look out for each other.
I am thankful for (some of) my leaders — at least the ones who get in it to actually serve the people and then who get out of it before it comes more about serving themselves.
I am thankful for my artists and poets and playwrights and musicians, who capture not only my beauty, but also the ugly, and showcase it in all of my galleries and on pages and stages to audiences large and small. I am so thankful to have so many people with such immense talent. My cup really does runneth over.
I am thankful for the local businesses that keep me funky. There are so many special moments to be had and memories to be made at all of these great places. A hot dog at the Dew Drop Inn after that first day of school. Or a trip by Cammie’s for ice cream after the last soccer game of the season. A magical and intimate night of music on a Sunday evening at Callaghan’s. Cheering on your favorite team at Heroes or grabbing a cup of coffee with an old friend at Serda’s, Satori, Carpe or Cream and Sugar.
Catching beads and MoonPies (and who knows what else) outside The Garage and Bike Shop from the first Mardi Gras parade of the season to the last. Having a dozen raw at Wintzell’s, a cup of Turtle soup at Felix’s and some West Indies salad at Bayley’s. I could go on and on and on.
I am thankful for the folks long ago who built my beautiful mansions and crafted gorgeous ironwork to give me such a unique architectural identity. And I am also thankful for the people who fight to preserve them and who are willing to pay their power bills.
My revitalized downtown. Sure it still has a way to go. But it gets better each and every year. And I am excited not only about the flurry of activity we continue to see in LoDa, but all sign of new life on streets and areas that have been neglected for decades – “Auto Alley” on St. Louis Street and the potential of an open air market at Mardi Gras park. I am thankful for the owners who open their doors for business every day and the people at Downtown Mobile Alliance, some of whom who have committed most of their lives to making sure my “heart” is healthy and strong.
Sure, there are things I would like to change about myself. My infrastructure has been ignored for so long and needs so much work, I don’t even know where to start. I have a cruise terminal sitting empty on my river with no real prospects of getting another ship. I have a maritime museum that just can’t seem to get off the ground. I have people who just toss litter out of their cars like it vanishes into thin air. There is still a racial divide that needs to be bridged, but there are also people who make it seem larger than it is for their own selfish purposes. I have leaders who are more interested in racking up frequent flyer miles or engaging in big vanity projects instead of working on making me better one small step at a time.
I could go on and on. But I’m not.
Because just like people, no city is perfect. And all of what’s wrong and what’s right with me makes me who I am, and I am thankful to be Mobile.