Maybe Archibald should visit

Published 4:39pm Saturday, February 9, 2013

By Larry Stover

I appreciated so much the rebuttal printed by our editor of the Times-Journal last Sunday.  Tim Reeves echoed my sentiments about the one-sided article by AL.com’s John Archibald concerning the 10 worst and 10 best communities to live in the state of Alabama.

Archibald’s column caught my attention when it included Anniston and Oxford on his “not-so-hot” places to live and raise a family. My wife, Janet, was born and raised in Anniston. I moved to Anniston from Pensacola in 1971. At that time Fort McClellan was thriving and the whole area was bustling with life and activity. Like any other city, it had its bumps in the road, but I have enjoyed many trips there through the years to visit Janet’s family.

Anniston has a rich heritage as does Selma. I have enjoyed visiting their Museum of Natural History. It is one of the finest I have ever been in. I could list many specialty restaurants that are almost worth the trip to enjoy their culinary delights. I’m sure Mr. Archibald has never enjoyed the “non-census” side of Anniston.

I won’t take the time or space to discuss Oxford, which lies just south of Anniston. It has more businesses, restaurants, and places to go than most cities its size. Surly he has heard of the magnificent football program at Oxford High School. But he’s probably never been there either.

Anniston and Selma share a common bond. Both have had to find new life after their military bases were shut down. It is a tough row to hoe for any community. Cities learn to survive and accentuate the positive aspects of their community.

I remember the discussions I had with former Times-Journal reporter, Desiree Taylor. We used to talk following Valley Grande City Council meetings. It was following those discussions that I agreed, more than 18 months ago, to begin writing this column about the positive things that abound in the Valley Grande area.

I don’t know what Archibald would think about Valley Grande or if he has even heard of it. I would like to take him on a tour of our schools and let him meet our dedicated staff and awesome students. He would have enjoyed our Christian Youth Meeting this past Wednesday at Martin Middle. Some 25 students asked me to pray for them to grow closer to Christ. Maybe he should join with my church when we feed the athletes at Martin Middle or DCHS. I would love to introduce him to outstanding young people.

I could go on and on. These things that many of us do aren’t mentioned in a census nor will they ever be. I have lived in Valley Grande for the past five years. I plan to retire here. If Archibald would like to come for a visit, I would take him out to lunch at R&B Restaurant or our soon to be Valley Grande Mexican Grill. It is “simply beautiful.”

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