In a town named after Stonewall Jackson, a mill closed. The mill, Burlington Industries, was more than a century old. Back in 2002 the population was not much more than a thousand if that. The mill employed eight hundred, they say. As you would imagine a certain emptiness was felt.
As always happens when you confront such a blow you may need the perspective of people who can see more. Many times those people have dealt with loss.
Chris was Carol's son and Christy's brother.
When Carol lost Chris she needed to learn how to walk again, how to rise from what must have felt like complete destruction. If there was one reason she had to smile it was for Christy.
But Carol did more. She teamed up with her daughter and a chef they met to create a restaurant, the kind of place where Chris had worked.
Rather than building something new they took something empty and filled it.
They filled an old mill office with delicious and locally grown foods and customers and they're not employing eight hundred yet, but they've provided eight jobs for people who may not have had work. And they're dreaming more and adding on and thinking that Stonewall, MS with all those sweet little mill homes can start housing other dreamers as well.
Carol sees an artist hub with murals on brick and summer art camps for kids. A dinner theater? Carol says, Of course.
When asked what she loves most about the restaurant and it's sweet shop, Carol answers, Family and community. We've got the most loyal customers around.
Again, I'm sold.
Today I am grateful for those whose lives serve as an example.