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RICHARD STEPHENS: What is Beatty Like?

Someone posted the following on the bulletin boards at the Beatty Post Office.

“Grandpa, what’s Beatty like?”

“Well son, just imagine a Texas mobile home park and a big auto salvage yard right after a big tornado ripped through the town. That’s Beatty.”

Now, I don’t want to deny that there are some junky properties in Beatty. I live right next to some of them (in a mobile home, of course), and it is painful the disregard some people have for their properties, their neighborhood, and their town.

A lot of folks here have a downright allergy to municipal ordinances, considering them an infringement on their freedoms, and we don’t have any housing developments with HOA’s.

There are a few abandoned properties going to ruin, and a few junk-hoarding slobs, and I’d be in favor of handing out some Beatty eyesore awards if I thought these folks had any sense of shame.

But I do have trouble with this statement that was posted about Beatty.

There used to be a fellow here in Beatty, now deceased, who self-published an attempt at a newspaper that he called his “rag.” It was filled with the kind of stuff that appealed to malcontents who enjoy denigrating anyone who is trying to do anything for the town, and who see scandal and conspiracies everywhere when there are none.

Once, when that fellow and I were attending a town board meeting, I said to him, “Charlie, I’m glad we don’t live in the same town.” I don’t think he got my point.

I heard a story long ago about a wise old master in the Orient.

He picked a rose from his garden and showed it to his three students.

He asked the first student what he saw. The student replied, “I see that some of the leaves are wilted and brown.”

The master plucked off the dead leaves and handed them to the student. He then asked the second student what he saw.

“Master, I notice that the rose has many thorns.”

The master picked off the thorns and handed them to that student, then asked the third what he saw.

“I see that there is dirt from the garden on some of the petals.”

The master dusted off the dirt and handed it to the student.

“Now each of you has what he saw,” said the master. “I have what I saw: a beautiful rose.”

Richard Stephens is a freelance reporter living in Beatty.

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