May 11, 2004
Approximately 3:00 pm
The Ironton Project
The sun shines brightly on the sidewalk as the temperature continues to rise. The heat surrounds me, and I dream of jumping into a nice cool swimming pool. My colleague and I continue to walk down the streets of my neighborhood looking for people to interview. All of a sudden a horn blares down the street. I look behind me and see Rainbow Bright driving our way. She parks her car and asks us what we are doing. We tell her about our Ironton Project and ask her if she would like to be a part of it. She looks at her watch and says she has some free time, so, why not? I sit down under a shade tree and begin to ask her about her feelings towards the town of Ironton.
What would you do if you were mayor? She laughs for a second, and then gets a serious look on her face. “I would defiantly try to bring more businesses into the town. People are out of work and they need jobs. The streets are also very bad. Holes are like everywhere. They need to be fixed soon. It makes the whole town look like a trash hole.” I ask her if she thinks that if she asked the city council would listen to her if she told them her thoughts. “I think that they would listen, but they won’t do anything. They just pretend to listen to us, but that don’t care. They’ll just ignore our suggestions.”
Rainbow Bright and I talk some more and I ask her what, she as a teenage, would like to see come to Ironton. “Well business wise, I would love to see a strip club. No wait, I’m just kidding! I would like to see something in the line of gambling come to Ironton. Older people live here and they like to gamble. I think money is there to be made.” I ask her about entertainment establishments. “Hmmm. Well a Putt-Putt would be nice, and maybe a movie theater. Just no more car lots or pizza places! We have way too many of those things here.”
I ask her if she thinks that the town allocates their money wisely and get a reply that blows my mind. “No, they blow it on stupid s*** (explicative).” I ask her to explain why she feels that way. “They never spend in on things we really need. Ironton buys stupid things that a town our size doesn’t need.” She asks me to make sure that this is confidential and no one will know she is. I remind her that is totally private and then she seems to feel better and smiles.
Trying to wind down the interview, I ask Rainbow Bright what she feels is the biggest asset Ironton has. Without thinking she tells me it’s the people. “The people have got to be the best part about this town. They are really nice and are there when you need them. The only issue there is that they are always there. It can be bad too because people know what you are doing, whether or not it’s good or bad.” I tell her that is sounds as if she experienced this first hand. She smiles a knowing smile and says, “What do you think?” I tell her the interview is done and she walks to her car and drives off.
Sitting on the ground under that shade tree, I think about all Rainbow Bright had to say. I realize that Ironton does have good people here. People who do care about you and your family are all around you, and will be there for you when you really need a helping hand. I think about how lucky I am to live here and how much I want the town to progress and stay stable. Hopefully, I think, this project will help this weary town out and give it the breath of life that it desperately needs.