To the El Dorado Springs City Council, Picnic Committee, Our Readers, and anyone else who stumbled upon this in their Google Searches,
What I am about to say needs to be heard because I have the option of using my platform to talk with more than one person.
My grandparents decided to move their mobile home to the corner of Fields and Allison in 1989. And from that moment on, Eldo was my home. I remember spending time with friends at football games on Friday night, going to Nevada for Chinese food when school would be released at noon because it was hot. Pickup basketball games with friends, playing baseball in the summer, and of course sitting down with my family at the end of a long day with a burger in my hand from Simone’s. The town is part of everything I do in some aspect of my work. I am sorry but I can’t bring myself to call Woods by any other name other than Woodses and that is thanks to my Mom. I may not live in town anymore but it’s still home.
But I know at 35, El Dorado is a perfect town to retire and live the best part of your lives. The town moves at a slower pace than most and the only time a traffic jam happens is if a combine is going down Highway 54.
I remember my mom bringing a blanket to a spot as close to the stage as possible. Telling to me to sit down with I guess my then girlfriend so we could share a block of curly fries that would clog your arteries for three years. But so worth it. The memories of my mom sitting inside Chicken Fixins, smiling watching people having fun is something that I will never be able to erase from my mind. One year, a ride made a bouncing noise and was virtually set up at the intersection of Main and Broadway. Her fear fueled laughter for years to come. Entering lip sync coemptions, just trying to have fun with people I cared about. And that is exactly what the event is.
But none of those events happened in the middle of a global pandemic. The only thing clouding those memories of happiness is the upset stomach that followed from eating all of the fair food.
All joking aside, let’s have a real talk.
If one person dies from COVID-19 from going to the El Dorado Springs Picnic, that blood is on the hands of the irresponsibility of thinking that it was a good idea to gather thousands of people in a city park. The Picnic is special, I am never going to deny that. But what I will say without a shadow of a doubt, putting people’s lives at risk for profit is a poor inexcusable action that will be looked at by generations to follow. In all honesty, that would hurt the event more than cancelling it for a year because of a pandemic.
I love El Dorado, I love a lot of the people that I had the honor of getting to know while living there. You are going to hear a wide variety of opinions tonight, and either decision you make will have consequences. But ultimately, the health and well being of your citizens, your guests, and the city is more important than getting a dollar corn dog and sitting in a lawn chair for three days or the profit that will be made.
Because, I would rather be planning for the picnic in 2021, than planning a funeral in 2020.
EHS Class of 2003