Rid disproportionate, provide reapportioned differently

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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By Dr. William Scott

An awkward teenager Henry’s mother would call: “Hen Reeeeeeeeeeeee, Hen Ree Al-drich!” Henry, with a breaking adolescent voice, would respond: ‘Coming Mother.’ Henry Aldrich was a popular beginning to an early radio show in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Henry Aldrich was also popular in comic books, newspaper funnies and finally on early television. Henry’s character was a teenager in the mist of growing to adulthood, causing all kinds of trouble for his family and for himself, unintentionally. He was an early “Leave It to Beaver,” or a “Dennis the Menace,” even a “Charlie Brown-type” character. People were always pulling on Henry’s imaginary strings like Sesame Street puppets. He was like the characters in the movie “The Sandlot,” where Scotty Smalls, a new kid in the neighborhood, joined a bunch of kids playing baseball on a make-shift baseball field. A Henry Aldrich-like character was also seen in the “Home Alone” movies.

But the Henri I know is not like any of these characters. First, he is not like some puppet on a string being completely controlled by a puppeteer. Second, he is not a teenager growing toward manhood, but a full-grown man with full-grown ideas to make life for himself and his family as well as those around him better and prosperous. Third, this Henri is willing to join an honest team with honest efforts to accomplish honest change in this small town. He says, “Let’s reapportion differently.” He is not interested in joining a “rag tag’ team like the Sandlot movies, but would join those who would be willing to take the “rag tags” to higher heights by appropriately reapportioning civic duties and civic ideas, differently.

In the movies of “Sandlot,” the boys grew to become outstanding adults and responsible citizens of their communities. Henri would also say, “Let’s help our young folks become outstanding citizens here in Franklin by helping and honoring our seniors who paved the way during those troublous times of past.

That’s the Henri Porter I’ve come to know. One who is willing to work for the good of his neighborhood, his ward, his city. He is a fighter like Henry Armstrong Jr., the boxer from Pittsburgh, Pa., who held three world champion belts during his boxing career – Featherweight, Lightweight and Welterweight. Like the boxer, he is a proud, honest and dedicated man willing to help changed Franklin for the better. He knows that change comes in small pieces and must begin in small areas. His ward is that small area pulsating for change, throbbing for quality of service, pounding for new businesses within Franklin. Put these potential changes on display through newspapers, bulletin boards, talks and lectures in schools, civic organizations, town hall meetings of information and other forms of spreading the word. The Henri I know would be the one participating in and encouraging these kinds of efforts.

Allow the community to begin ‘self-help’ neighborhood watch programs so our young people, as well as our seniors, will feel safe to come out and play or sit on their porches without fear of gun violence or drug activity. Let’s start mending fences or, “better still,” destroying the fences that keep the city divided along perceived racial lines. Stop using the treks of division that tracks right through Franklin. We are 20 years into a new millennium, and we need to alter our old ways of associating and sprint towards the new ways that we can usher in. The 20th century is gone. Now, make the next 80 years Franklin’s “new golden age” by calling and accepting anew the Hen Reeeeeeeeeeeee, Hen-ri Porters. This Henri Porter will respond by saying to Franklin: Here I am, LORD, use me for your good!

DR. WILLIAM SCOTT is a guest columnist for The Tidewater News. He can be reached at garwhit2@charter.net.