Living Democracy

Summer in Elba Ends with Gratitude

Jelani MooreLast Sunday marked my final day in Elba with the exception of the Surf’s Up pool party at Hawkins-Williams Park this week.

My summer here in Elba has been one to remember—to say the least. I never expected to become so involved with the people of this city that I’d actually become family.  I got a good bit done within three short months, but I could not have scratched the surface if it were not for the support and shared vision of the beautiful citizens of Elba. 

And for that I’d like to say with the utmost sincerity: thank you.  Thank you for your wisdom, your help and your free meals.  I could go on and on about how thankful I am and name all those who donated their time and effort. However, down the road when I’ve reached the pinnacle everyone can look at the television screen and say: “That’s Jelani Moore, and he made his bones in Elba, Alabama.” (Please excuse my Narcissism).

I would like to especially thank Restoration154 for all of their support in all the shenanigans, plots, and misadventures that I partook in this summer.  The progress that this organization has made in a single summer is truly astounding. 

Each year they continue to move faster and faster.  With that type of momentum I suspect within a few more summers the auditorium of the old Elba theatre will be resurrected with the help of its patrons if the community continues to support the effort.

image of Living Democracy student Jelani Moore in front of mural in Elba, AlabamaI will truly miss this town and its people—a certain few people especially (hint hint: Zana and Brook.)  I will also miss long rides down the Pea River, short church services, writing at the coffee house after hours, dinner at the Maddox home, Saturday’s at the boat shop and watching NASCAR with the Washburns.

Unfortunately time was a factor, which meant my schedule was limited. But there are a few things I’d love for this city to get done in the coming months: the completion of the mural, the establishment of the chalkboard wishing wall at Tiger Town park and the Elba Giving Garden, and the creation of a new city flag. I’ll be sure to visit when time permits and can’t wait to see the progress.              

Before I leave you there are just a few things I’d like to address.  This summer I discovered that a lot of people are concerned with the new bypass that is expected to be completed in the next three to four years.  I understand that this could take a toll on many businesses in the area and lower traffic in town.  For these reasons you deserve to be worried, but please don’t be. 

image of Living Democracy Student Jelani Moore painting mural in Elba, AlabamaThis city has seen darker days.  While has-been metropolises like Detroit are falling apart, Elba continues.  The bypass will take people away from town, but it’s your job to give them a reason not to.  What we’ve done this summer with the mural downtown and hosting community events is how the energy maintains a steady flow. 

Art and music will attract weary travelers like flowers attract bees.  I’m not trying to propose any type of business plan but just offering a word of advice.  That is, if you think a 19-year-old college student has any advice worth giving.

A second thing I would like to mention is my respect for your pride in Elba.  Everyone seems to be on the same page and that makes for a strong and healthy community.  Throughout this entire summer I’ve had no encounters with a nasty Elbian; unless I count the three snakes I caught in Justin Maddox’s backyard… they were pretty mean. 

Last but not least I thank all of you for your love for Sgt. Pepper.  If you don’t know who Sgt. Pepper is just ask the person sitting nearest you.  Though he had a brief run-in with the law, I think it’s safe to say that he had a very enjoyable first-summer-of-life in Elba.

With that said, it was hot, it was hard, but it was so much fun.  Thank you all!     

Last Updated: August 06, 2014