It’s been a whirlwind week in Cherokee County. Three chambers of commerce held their annual membership and awards banquets this week, and I was honored to attend two of those.

The week started with Bullard’s banquet, which was followed by Rusk’s on Tuesday night and Jacksonville’s on Thursday.

I told people many times on Tuesday and Thursday nights that I don’t often get a chance to sparkle, so I took full advantage of the opportunity — especially Tuesday night at Rusk’s banquet, which was themed “A Night with the Stars.”

You’ll notice I have a different mug shot this week. That’s me Tuesday night.

It also isn’t often I have the opportunity to see some of the things I saw this week, such as County Judge Chris Davis dancing with a transvestite — er, I mean a Marilyn Monroe look-alike. You can see a photo of her at left.

Nights like those are fun for me, even though I have to “work” at the events. I enjoy seeing everyone dressed in their finest, smiling and laughing as they reflect back on a year’s work — and as they look forward to a new year filled with promise.

I have to say Dr. Miles McCall, president of Lon Morris College and keynote speaker at the Rusk banquet, made a new fan in me. His speech was wonderful.

He called the members of the Rusk Chamber to a challenge — to make their town different.

He also used an exercise with people from the audience to show how difficult it can be to look at things differently. He had them read words off a poster silently to themselves, but yell out the color in which the words were written.

He didn’t let anyone else see the words — they were “Green” printed in red, “Yellow” printed in blue, “Purple” printed in black, etc.

Even looking at the poster, having the opportunity to think about it, it was difficult to think the color of the word, such as blue, than the word itself, “Red.”

Thinking about life in a different way is tough, especially when habits have been ingrained in us. Let’s face it, Cherokee County has a lot of “old” people in it — it has nothing to do with ages, but with how long people have lived here.

The people established here know a way of life, like that way of life, and want to keep things just that way.

That’s part of the charm of the area, something about it I treasure, and I would hate to see that lost.

But a tiny shift can make a world of difference.

I hope we can all look at things a little differently in the coming year and not only build on the success of the past, but add to it as well.

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