Saying goodbye to yesterday

By RENE’ DAY / Community Columnist

Citizens living in Alabaster and traveling regularly along Alabama 119 have witnessed a lot of change in the past several years. For now, though, there are still a few things that hearken back to the time when Kent Dairy Road really had a dairy and cattle grazed where families now buy their milk – and other staples in a state-of-the-art store. For those new to the area, it may be impossible to imagine just how rural the stretch from Montevallo to Alabaster was. And, it wasn’t that many years ago. An old hay silo sitting just behind the Publix shopping center bears silent testimony.

The progress in this southern part of Shelby County is remarkable. Due to the energy and hard work displayed by Alabaster’s leaders, the town now offers a fine hospital surrounded by a “medical mile” of cooperating clinics with specialists offering expertise in all aspects of medicine. The school system ranks high and is about to open a multi-million-dollar facility. Veterans Park and other recreational venues provide a chance to exercise the body – and one’s canine best friend – and find solace for the mind. Shopping and dining opportunities continue to grow as more families choose to root themselves in the fine soil provided by some of the most beautiful housing developments in the state.

But, every so often, the fast pace of today has to make room for tomorrow and a little bit more of yesterday disappears. Admittedly, that can tug at the heartstrings for those who remember and love the vestiges of Shelby County’s past. Such was the case recently when one of the old houses along Alabama119 was demolished. It sat empty for quite a few years, but the yard still celebrated the seasons when forgotten bulbs and bushes bloomed. It looked to be an old dogtrot structure later covered by contemporary siding. Surely it once boasted a lively family, a thriving garden, animals in the yard and folks sitting on the front porch – all the accouterments of rural living. As the big mouth of the dozer poised to take the back part of the house down, it was hard not to mourn its loss for just a moment. But, in pulling over to pay respects and take a photo, the view became an interesting juxtaposition of past and present. In the far background, workmen on the new Hardees restaurant labored over machines laying the parking lot asphalt. The bright colors of the new signs seemed at odds with the neutral, dusty color of the old house – an interesting moment in time captured for posterity.

You, too, are witnesses to history as you travel around the county. If you look closely, you will see some of the old left to remind you of the people who gave this place the distinct and diverse flavor it has today. But reminders of our past aren’t as numerous as they once were. When you can, take a moment to enjoy them.