This is the time of year when we take a look back at 2020 and at the same time look forward to 2021.
It's a bittersweet time of year. There have been weddings and funerals, cars bought and trucks crashed, profits and losses, good times and sad times. This was also the year we learned about coronavirus, social distancing and how politics may be the worst sickness in society.
I try not to dwell too much on the past. Yes, there is much to be learned by looking back at what went wrong and what went right in 2020. But I'm an optimist and I prefer to look forward to good times ahead.
I have never heard of someone honestly trying to fail. None of us should head down any path knowing full well that heartache and misery are waiting. Life is for the living and we need to look to each new day as an opportunity and a chance to make this world a little better place.
So with all that said, let's take a look back at 2020 and a then peer into 2021 and hope for the best.
Hindsight is 2020
• It is the elephant in the room. COVID-19 changed our world – yours and mine.
I hope it proved to people as much as we pride ourselves in being free and independent, we are a social species and we must work together to solve our problems.
• We had seven homicides in Clarksdale this year. As bad as they were, I want to tip my hat to local law enforcement for making arrests as quickly as possible. Yes, we do have a few unsolved homicides, but the hunt is still on.
The shots fired calls bother me more than my family being the victim of a possible homicide. Randomly fired bullets don’t have a target and care less whose life they ruin. I think we need to teach these crooks how to shoot so they can hit their target and not me.
• We didn’t have the big industrial announcements we had in 2019, but that should come as no surprise.
Business has put on the brakes. Business was forced to put on the brakes by the shutdown enforced by government.
I will point back to 2019 and say the 500 jobs created that year are still handing out paychecks this year. Clarksdale is still the Delta’s Rising Star.
I have heard rumblings of yet more job announcements. Let’s see was 2021 holds
• Clarksdale saw several mom-and-pop businesses call it quits this year. We also saw several national retail stores close in 2020. Those businesses will never come back.
• What happened in our schools in 2020 probably concerns me the most.
Many teachers called me and said there was “a COVID outbreak” in the schools and everyone needed to go home. When I asked if their checks would stop, they said no. I told them to get to work.
But what bothers me most is we have children who are quickly losing a year of education. If you hear nothing else, please remember the only hope your children, my children and all Clarksdale’s children have is a good education.
It has been estimated a lack of skills and education prompted by COVID will cause an extra 10 percent of our children to become criminals and go to prison. What a tragedy. What a waste.
The future is 2021
• This will be the year Clarksdale gets some kind of homeless shelter. We have a food kitchen, we have an animal shelter, and we have good people wanting a homeless shelter. This will be the year it truly gets started.
• Are we ever going to get that housing development, community center and grocery store that has been promised Clarksdale?
I was not here when they were first promised, but I have read in the old Clarksdale Press Register files where they were.
Yes, COVID made things slow down, but Clarksdale still needs new and affordable house, we still need a community center and, in a region that has been called “food scare” by universities and national media, we still need another grocery store.
• This is the year we start putting people back in jail for crime. COVID has stopped law enforcement from making arrests and carrying them to jail. This is the year we give them a shot and start locking them up again.
• Coahoma County farmers had a good year in 2020. Agri-business is big business around here and this was one segment of our economy that kept moving forward. I hope and pray we have a good growing season in 2021.
• This is the year we get a “new” hospital. Actually this will be the year we get new partners in healthcare in Clarksdale.
Just like a wedding, we need to unite hearts and minds and form a long-lasting relationship between this community and Delta Health Services.
It couldn’t happen at a better time for this community.
• I spoke with a group of tourist outside my office Tuesday. They were up from New Orleans and this was their first vacation in nine months.
It was good to see tourist in our town again. It was refreshing to hear someone left the Big Easy to come visit the Blues Capital of The World.
I do believe 2021 will be the year the blues are once again heard in Clarksdale. Boy, do we have a lot to sing about.
I hope you can look back on 2020 and see the blessings that have fallen on you. I hope you can put to rest those failures and losses that you suffered – I had them, too.
Like I said earlier, let's look forward to 2021 and when we meet here again at this time next year we can all smile and say it has been a good year!
Floyd Ingram is Editor of your Clarksdale Press Register. He is an optimist, capitalist and a Baptist and you can call him at 627-2201 to talk the future, business or religion.