Don’t let Texarkana become a ‘ticky-tacky’ town

Don't let Texarkana become a 'ticky-tacky' town

Photo by unknown

Story by Wynne Tidwell, Feature Editor

A couple of days ago I was in critical condition, suffering from complete and utter boredom during Spanish class, so I decided to surf the web. Google soon led me to the “10 Bizarre Festivities around the World.” Here is what I learned:

In Valencia, Spain, on the last Wednesday in August at the peak of the tomato season, a wild battle develops as thousands of people pelt each other with ripe tomatoes. After the tomato war is over, everyone gathers at the town square for food and wine festivities.

In Shetland, Scotland, on the last Tuesday of January, a Viking boat (followed by dozens of Vikings in horned helmets) is paraded through the streets. The ship is eventually set on fire and dancing follows. Participants of the Songkran water festival in Thailand squirt both friend and foe with water as sign of respect for New Years.

As quirky as these festivities seem, they’re a coming together for the communities, a timeless celebration— commemorating a successful harvest or even just hoopla of drink and laughter.

The site got me thinking… what does Texarkana do? I couldn’t think of anything. Miss Texarkana? Christmas parade? The rodeo? Well, they exist, but who participates in them? Honestly, not very many; definitely not enough to define Texarkana. I suppose the fair is the most talked about, but…eww. That’s when I realized Texarkana is in an identity crisis.

America in general has always had a hard time with self-identity. Mostly due to the fact that it’s so far ranging both in demographics and race that a shared culture isn’t easy to come by. In fact, it seems the culture in America is more regional than national.

The South: Football, sweet tea, more football

The Dakotas: What’s football?

Vermont: prep schools, Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream, lacrosse

Southern California: vineyards, marijuana legalization, filmmaking

See what I mean? The “American Culture” changes from state to state. Except for the love of cheeseburgers and spending. Very American.

Anyway, back to Texarkana.

I can’t help but notice the lack of community in our city. Yes it’s growing rapidly, but notice where that growth is: the interstate. Notice the new stores: Jason’s Deli? Awesome. TCBY? Yogurt’s the best.

But how many other TCBYs and Jason’s Delis are there? As great as these places are, there are hundreds of other places just like these. I guess culture and individuality must be the new faux paux of America. The heart of Texarkana isn’t on Richmond Road; it’s where it all started. The heart is in downtown. Sadly, our downtown is dying. Some people blame the Bi-State building, a true eyesore. Most recently the complaints are targeted at the jail that was built about 10 years ago. Jails do not attract developers. A bit counterproductive considering that is exactly what Texarkana needs: developers and investors.

Regardless of the source, it’s yet to thrive. Recently I’ve started a club—Restoration Texarkana, which is committed to the cause of restoring and beautifying the corridor. If anyone is concerned with our town just join and email me at [email protected]

If efforts aren’t made downtown will continue to be neglected and Texarkana will continue to be a town full of chain stores with a watered-down culture. The town has so much potential, so join the cause.

My AP US history teacher Mr. Zach recently enlightened us to a song called “Little Boxes.” The song is a political satire about the development of suburbia along with the conformist middle-class attitudes of America.

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky,
Little boxes, little boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.

There’s a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same.

Texarkana, let’s not be a box made of ticky-tacky.

For more information, visit my Facebook page Hang Together Texarkana. http://www.facebook.com/messages/100000521045870#!/HangTogetherTexarkana