Eclectic, quirky, and sometimes edgy…this is how things look from my front porch.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Never Underestimate the Power of a Few

They miss my friend Nancy on her home planet.  I say that only affectionately, because I treasure her and value her intellect.  But she is different.  She calls God “the Matrix.” Nancy dyes her hair with black walnuts.  Nicknamed Tink, for Tinkerbelle, she is an animated under five feet tall dynamo who looks at least 15 years younger than she is.  If you have an ailment, Nancy has the natural remedy and it works. 

When I first moved here, we had a blighted block of Section-8 housing at the entrance to the neighborhood that looked horrendous.  Nancy vowed that a linear park could go there, after we took that block down through the civic league.  People looked at her like she had two heads.  Look at that block twelve years later.  We call it Scotts Creek Park.

I don’t talk much about my civic involvement in Portsmouth here on the blog.  I’m blessed to live in a neighborhood where a few can make a difference.  So when Nancy called me and said that we had to do something about a proposal to build a sulfur processing plant with two 150 foot smokestacks on the Elizabeth River near my house, I listened. 

Not to get into a big discussion, but sulfur goes on fire very easily, so companies dampen it when processing to reduce the risk.  Mr. Paquette told me that some day I'd need the periodic table, so I should pay attention in chemistry class.  He was right.  I had to look up the process, but sulfur+water=sulfuric acid, right on a river.  Not good.   However, never underestimate the power of stealthy, middle-aged co-conspirators.

We even surprised even ourselves as other civic leaders from several communities came on board.  In three weeks, the following headline appeared in the local paper:

Company Drops Portsmouth in Plans for Sulfur Plant
Do you ever feel like you are one person and you can’t do too much?  It isn’t true.  As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.”

1 comment:

Debra said...

Good for you! Sulpher smells awful and although I know they do things to tone down the scent, well still..... yuck! :) Glad your neighborhood will stay nice thanks to your friends and you. Blessings, Debra P.S. So glad to see you back here!!