Youthful indiscretions? Oh, so many! I recall co-starring in STOP THE WORLD–I WANT TO GET OFF while in my twenties. I portrayed the long-suffering wife, as well as multiple mistresses, of a philandering, self-obsessed politician, and the two of us sang to each other for two and 1/2 hours. My ambitious husband, Mr. Littlechap of Sludgepool, warbled: “Mumbo Jumbo, rhubarb rhubarb. Tickety bubarb yak yak yak. Mumbo jum red white and bluebarb. Nothing newbarb cha cha cha.” Tour de force of “there’s a sucker born every minute” coupled with “tell ’em what they wanna hear.”

Little did I realize, “way back when” at Ft. Wayne’s First Presbyterian Theater, that I had prepared myself for life in a manner trumping even my college education. Today’s newsflashes screeching of Governor Sanford’s escapades reminded me that “truth is stranger than fiction”.

More immediately, Columbia City revisited the “205 Project” in an almost secretive (clandestine may be too harsh a word?) meeting at City Hall council chambers on Thursday, June 25–and pretty early in the morning at that. Hey, the beautification and safety-fication of the Parkview cornerofthesky seems to be a “done deal”. Millions of our dollars later we shall enjoy exquisite flowery landscaping, widening of something or other here and there, amphitheater, re-arranged drive-ways, possibly a few demolitions, implosions, I dunno. Short of a blow by blow description employing a chalkboard or overhead projector, most of us remain clueless as to what, how, where, why (but not whom). Maybe one of those walking tours is in order, to explore what we, the gullible and uninformed, seem uncomfortably close to purchasing. All of this will definitely cost us “20 cents on the dollar”. (Side-note: Don’t we already have a hospital which specializes in referring us to Ft. Wayne Hospitals, anyway? Will our present 1950s structure become a pool hall, a teen canteen or simply languish in place, staring at us for years ahead?)

Matching grants have happened; the state of Indiana shall rob Peter to pay Paul; and money changing hands from tax collectors to tax disbursers defies all logic for ever responsibly following the “green-paper” trail. Shouts of, “If we don’t spend our fair share of ‘stimulus’ dough, somebody else’ll get their grubby hands on it” sound a tad adolescent. By the way, “stimulus package” wasn’t even a catch-phrase until the Great Depression II revved up its engine the day following the 2008 Presidential election. Columbia City bigwigs have rubbed their hands together in anticipatory glee since last summer, this project a gleam in their eyes way back then, before the global economy commenced its collapse.

Bewildering that our “throw-away society” ever considered abandonment of perfectly sound buildings, which now has become the “American Way”–tear down or walk away from, start from scratch, get fancier. Particularly wondering why those final bastions of wealth, our hospital systems, cannot afford to pay-and-pave their own way, for instance, allotting incomprehensible chunks of cash for brand new ball-park naming rights. Not-for-profit entities can afford anything their hearts desire.Lessons learned from The Great Depression of 1929 taught Tom Brokaw’s esteemed “Greatest Generation” to preserve, protect, defend and cherish what they had. That sterling quality should have been passed onward to my age group; our enlightened, somewhat spooked, parents certainly nagged continuously about being grateful for what was already ours and making the most and best of that. Yet, here we are again, right where they told us we might be one fine day, hovering upon the edge of economic disaster, and what do we do? According to the Wednesday, June 24th, edition of our local newspaper, which we are fortunate indeed to continue to be able to read as the journalism industry as we know it also teeters on the brink, “CITY PLANS ENGINEER PICK FOR 205 PROJECT”. Damn the torpedoes–full speed ahead? “Nothing newbarb cha cha cha!”

POSTSCRIPT: “Mumbo Jumbo, rhubarb rhubarb. Give the Democrats more cash. Helps the nation, stops inflation. How’s your father? Wall Street crash.” Try skipping your rope to that ditty and contemplate Project 205!

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