My View – June 2016

When I was a young boy growing up in Wyckoff, New Jersey, we were a one-car family. Several times a week, I loved tagging along as my mother shuttled my father to and from the train station for his daily commute into New York City. Often, while sitting in the family Ford Fairlane station wagon, we’d pass an office located in the heart of our small town, where I’d see a gentleman through a wall of windows working away behind his desk. For some reason, I spent hours thinking about that man, wondering what he did all day.

The other day, as I was working from behind my standing desk, I caught a glimpse of a young boy staring at me from the back seat of his family car, which evoked an instant flashback! Time flies and now, 45+ years later, I am the man working in the small office in the heart of another small town, behind a large window. Ten years ago as I was preparing to purchase the Jacksonville Review, then-publisher Carolyn Kingsnorth told me, “In this job, you’ll get to know everyone in town…it’ll be like living in a fish bowl sometimes…but you can make a difference.” Although I didn’t yet understand the concept of “making a difference,” I did get the gist of the “fish bowl” reference. Fish bowl and all, I’m one of the lucky ones doing something for a living that makes a difference and is, most of the time, rewarding. Alongside an army of similarly-minded civic volunteers making Jacksonville a friendlier, more livable town, I’m living the dream.

Recently, I was reminded of “living the dream” again by another friend, Michael Kell of GoodBean Coffee fame, who complimented me by saying, “You’ve built an enviable small-town business… one that others from big cities would love to be running instead of going to their daily drudge jobs and waiting to retire to Jacksonville.” It took some time for his words to sink in, but this is a great town for a live/work blend where quality of life is tangible. Jacksonville is a place where one person can make a difference in the lives of others and where one can be a part of the solution… and to me, that’s “living the dream.”

This summer, make the most of your life in our Small Town with Big Atmosphere!