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Up & Down Commerce St. – July 23

We enjoyed a nice lunch with some fine folks from Greenville at the Wintzell’s Oyster House in Montgomery on Friday. Everyone enjoyed a tasty helping of Gumbo, bread and seafood (free of nasty BP oil).

Except for us. We had the hamburger. We know: In a seafood restaurant. Even the waiter thought we were weird.

Conversation generally focused on the announcement made a block down the road that Hyundai Heavy Industries was coming to the River Region, bringing 500 new jobs to the area. This is excellent news, anyway you salt and pepper it.

Now there are some who will complain that Greenville is “giving” too much money – $333,000 to be exact – to Montgomery, the city’s share of an incentive package to lure HHI here. There are some who believe the term “economic incentive” is an ugly word. That there must be a better way to bring jobs to the city.

These are probably the same folks who believe the American car industry still sits firmly at the top of the industry and we’re the land of opportunity when, truthfully, times have changed. Opportunities now exist in every part of the world. Not just here. America has to work just as hard as everyone else.

A man told us, “when you have the opportunity to get jobs, you get them.”

We agree.

We had a viewing of the classic 1956 John Ford western The Searchers the other night. Streamed it right to our television via Netflix. Technology is a wonderful thing.

It was the first time we’d seen what some refer to as the best western ever made from beginning to end. It was certainly as good as advertised. And although the film contained violence (cowboys, Indians, and shooting and some adult subject matter), you hardly ever saw any blood. You know the Hollywood of today would gore a remake of this movie up quite considerably.

Interesting tidbit: John Wayne’s catchphrase “That’ll be the day,” inspired the title of Buddy Holly’s hit song.

You can smell it. In the evenings, when there’s the undercurrent of a breeze beneath the oppressive heat of summer. Football season.

Faint, we know, but it’s there.

We enjoyed an interesting conversation with Mr. Carl Sellers and son on Wednesday. Our topic was motorcycles. As is typical with father and son, Carl learned to love motorcycles and passed that love on to his son Brandon, now a successful attorney across the street from us in the building his father constructed. Both are active members in the riders group here in Butler County (over 100 strong) and both have a love for the “Iron Horse.” Motorcycles are a part of their lives. Brandon said he remembered his father parking his steel machines in the foyer of their home, before they had a garage, so they wouldn’t be ruined by the weather.

“What’s a foyer for anyway?” Carl asked.

We won’t spoil everything, because a full feature on father and son will appear in our new Camellia Magazine in September.

Our own Beth Chapman, Alabama Secretary of State, has been elected President-Elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State. Our heartiest congratulations to her.

Everyone else’s Beth Chapman lives with the Dog in Hawaii.

Shake someone’s hand this weekend when you’re out and about. They’11 probably from out of town. Baseball teams will be here until Thursday and we want the players, coaches and parents to remember our hospitality.

As you probably saw on Wednesday, three young entrepreneurs – Mary Avery Keen, Mason Keen and Jess Causey – set up a lemonade stand on Monday at the corner of Manningham Rd. and Wood Valley Rd. The two girls and boy weren’t selling summer’s sweet nectar for personal profit though. They were selling it for our Gulf of Mexico, to help clean up its oil saturated waters. Not many youngsters would brave the 100-degree heat of July to help aid the environment. Good job trio!

Greenville Elementary School is a having a workday on Friday, July 30 in preparation for the upcoming school year. The Southeast Alabama Gas District will host it. Call Shannon Gooden with SEAGD at 428-2836 if you’re interested in volunteering. The day starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m.

The city will honor “Miss” Mary Braden with a special retirement reception on Wednesday, July 28 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at City Hall. Miss Mary will be retiring after 36 years of service with the city. She has provided leadership at the city’s senior center and now we wish her all the happiness in her retirement.

But we certainly hope she doesn’t give up her customary seat in the back at city council meetings. We enjoy seeing her there.