The morning broke as beautiful as any that I have ever seen over Jenkins on the morning of June 5.
The God of Hope was smiling on this little town that time and the modern world have forgotten. That is, all except the good people of this small worked-out mining town and the Kids Day Committee.
The committee was back in Jenkins for the third straight year at the request of about everyone that lives there. The city park with its freshly mowed grass, clean new trash cans, and a group of people determined to make this a day for the children to be happy and feel safe, was waiting for 10 a.m. to arrive.
My friend, Raymond Brown, and myself watched as each part of the program fell into place. The first to arrive were the train, the pony rides, and the petting zoo, until all were there and in place by 9:15. At 9:45, here came the product that we had been waiting for, the children. And come they did. A flow all day long, with smiles, chili, and of course red, blue and green lips from the snowcones. Tattoos where on almost every child. But the thing that was on every child was a smile.
When Raymond and I was asked to do the wildlife exhibit, we never knew what to expect. This was our first time, and although we have a world class exhibit, would it work?
The stage stayed full the whole day. Raymond thinks that well over 500 pictures were taken. We answered questions all day.
My mind goes back to the people that talked to me, and said they never miss a ‘Struttin’ Time’, to the “little fellow” whose Dad said he reads ‘Struttin’ Time’ to him every week and wanted me to sign his camo cap. These are memories that will last a lifetime.
For a committee that tries to just do good for our kids, we are running into a lot of people who don’t want this thing to work. Although we set these dates a year in advance, people do things to undermine us, such as having a graduation from a school during our event, although to their credit it was at the end of our day, Having not one, but two copycat Kids Day in Whitesburg on the same day we were in Jenkins. Let me be clear, the Mayor and City Council are members of our committee, and I am sure had nothing to do with the copycats. Why couldn’t the ones who had the copycat day, just load up the kids, and bring them to Jenkins? They could have saved themselves a ton of money, and the kids would have had just as much fun.
The Kids Day Committee will be in Whitesburg with the Back to School Bash on July 23. I tell everyone that now in case you want to have your own day. I’m not telling anyone they can’t have a day for the kids, but please stop and think, are you doing a day for the kids this weekend? What are the kids doing? Nothing. We are now on Facebook, just go there, and in the search, type in Letcher County Kids Day.
Till next week when I get to tell you about the squirrel hunt, hug and kiss a child and old person, it may be the only one they get.
One final thought, if the Kids Day Committee quits, will the copycats hang around? Where were they before we came along?