Father Time is certainly one of the most domineering parental figures we’ll ever encounter and his steady presence is tough to ignore. We see him in the lines on our faces, in our graying and thinning hair and in the changing neighborhoods around us.
There’s no doubt that a group of men, many of whom left Forest Park long ago, were motivated by the passing of time in deciding to return earlier this week and get reacquainted with childhood friends. There’s also no doubt that the community in which they all grew up was a special place.
Forest Park, for all its wackiness, is still a small enough universe where neighbors can be neighbors. And this summer, residents of the present day will have several opportunities to celebrate those remaining qualities of yesteryear that are so fondly remembered by an aging generation. This weekend every man, woman and child is invited to Summerfest, an annual celebration on Madison Street. The outdoor music event, Groovin in the Grove, will start up again soon and the village’s Centennial Celebration will honor 100 years of Forest Park history this season.
Events like these are a great time for families to spend time with one another and with friends. When neighbors–and the village–encourage each other to turn off the television, put the iPod away and interact in a meaningful way, future generations will be more inclined to remember the good ol’ days of growing up in a place like Forest Park.
Our interview with Tim Gillian on the eve of his recent departure from the village council found a man who was genuinely interested in the welfare of his neighborhood. It also revealed a man who, sadly, was tired of having dirt kicked in his face for doing what he thought was right.
For his 12 years on the council, Gillian deserves our thanks. He helped modernize a community that was risking obscurity by way of stagnant leadership. His push to update Forest Park’s government should not be considered complete, but Gillian no doubt deserves credit for the progress that has been made.
It has been said many times by many people that local politics is a tough game. At no other level of elected office will the public have greater access to its leaders. More than a decade ago when Gillian won a seat on the council for the first time, he learned quickly how emotional and how personal the job would be.
Your family, your home, your money and your neighborhood should always evoke strong feelings and each of us hopefully feels a great responsibility to protect these. With this in mind, hopefully we can all recognize the mistakes we make in attacking someone else’s.