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Posted on: November 4, 2019

Mayor's Message - November

Syracuse City Est 1935

Brer Rabbit kept on askin’ him, and the Tar-Baby, she kept on sayin’ nothin’, until presently Brer Rabbit drew back with his fist, he did and blip he tucked her side of her head … His fist stuck, and he can’t pull loose. The tar held him.

This excerpt is from my first-owned book, gifted to me at four; perhaps you remember yours.  It was Walt Disney’s Little Golden Book entitled:  Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby.  Mama read it to me at bedtime teaching how dirty a boy becomes once he wrestles against truth-tellin’.

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,

By the shining Big- Sea- Water,

Stood the wigwam of Nokomis, …

There the wrinkled, old Nokomis

Nursed the little Hiawatha…

Similarly, Papa read at bedtime from a Longfellow anthology–without pictures–The Song of Hiawatha.  It wasn’t long before I was Sleepy-Fellow, lulled to slumber by the Poet’s trochaic meter.

As a small child, I enjoyed the rhythms and lessons contained on those pages.  It was not until I was older and learned that these works were – and still are – the subject of controversy.  Nevertheless, they left an impression.

At 6, Mama accompanied me to the Bookmobile parked outside of Syracuse City Hall.  Two weeks prior she’d helped me apply for a library card, which was delivered to me that day.  In my 6-year-old mind I was now a real, recognized person!

Prior to lunch, Friday, November 22, 1963; I was in the junior high library researching for a paper assigned for English class on William Shakespeare when an attention alert screeched!  Suddenly, the principal broke-in over the intercom.  “President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas this morning and is being rushed to the hospital.”  I will never forget that library-moment.

Mrs. Mariam Smith; my English teacher, senior year in high school–what was her claim to fame in 1967?  She was Bobby Gentry’s aunt. Gentry held the charts with her number one hit, The Ode to Billie Joe.  The entire class was sent to the library to discover what Billie Joe McAllister had thrown from the Tallahatchie Bridge.

Monday, December 1, 1969, I found myself in the library at the Technical University of Berlin.   Serving a mission for my church, a lottery was held that day in the US that would determine my course the next few years.  Would military service after a mission be my life, or would I be allowed to continue my education?  All hinged on when April 23rd emerged from the lottery wheel that day.

After telling my best friend ever– I just want to be friends, I spent a host of hours hiding-out among the stacks at the U’s Marriott Library in early September 1971 just pondering.  There it was, I determined to call her wife!


Books, libraries and I go way back, and perhaps it is so with you.    We are thrilled that Davis County has reopened and expanded our community’s library.  Bookworms, rejoice!

Chris Sanford, thank you and the County Commission for bringing the library back into our lives! It’s wonderful!

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