When my wife Eva Mae and I first visited Payson, we were very impressed with the friendly people in the community who greeted strangers with a smile, and made strangers feel welcome. In the 1980s, we purchased property in another small community in Arizona where the people could not agree to disagree on any subject, so Payson was a breath of fresh air, and we soon determined that this is where we would like to retire.
After living here for a few years, we learned that the friendly face of Payson was real. However, like all small communities, there were a few malcontents who seemed to be unhappy with any progressive movement in the community, and some became militant in their effort to force their thoughts on the town council or anyone who disagreed with their agenda.
Eventually, I began to answer some of the negative and misguided statements that were published in the Payson Roundup with positive and factual statements, sometimes quoting the negative statements made by others, that contradicted previous statements they had made. That is when the ugly, hateful responses began, which I will not longer continue to answer. Hateful thoughts are a terrible emotion to live with, and eventually they become all consuming to those who dwell on them.
In June of this year, my wife of 51 years, and my best friend of 53 years, became very ill. We soon learned she had cancer that is incurable. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy. with this tragedy, and the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, my sense of values has changed. It is time to forget the past and cherish the short future we still have together.
I not only pray for Eva Mae, but I also pray that those with hateful thoughts for others, will stop and think about the reality of life and how short and precious it can be. I also pray that those who are angry and harbor bad thoughts about others, will think about what happened in New York City, and the thousands of innocent lives that were lost.
Please consider constructive ways to help Payson grow in harmony, not in discord and divisiveness. Remember to smile, stop and smell the roses, and enjoy the life that God gave you.