Confehr: Remake of 'Our Town' could be in Lone Oak

Friday, April 1, 2011

It seems as though a reverse remake of the old science fiction movie, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," could be "The Weeks That Lewisburg Couldn't Settle."

Or maybe "Our Town" could be slightly modified to have those buried at Lone Oak Cemetery speak out about the rules governing how graves should be decorated -- or not.

Thornton Wilder's three-act play, "Our Town," presents the former residents of an early 20th century town in America. The characters' monologues, spoken from a foggy graveyard, are about every day life among people interacting in a small town.

In the 1951 black and white Sci-Fi, an alien tells Earthlings they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets. The way World War II ended in the Pacific Theater was still a recent memory and the alien was dumbfounded by what he saw at Arlington National Cemetery near the Pentagon in Virginia.

Soldiers' graves are lined up uniformly with white headstones on neatly trimmed and mowed rolling fields of lush, green grass. It is a humbling place that includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, guarded every minute of every day near Robert E. Lee's mansion.

Why people fight to the death is the unanswered question of "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

It's as chilling as the crushing of soft, warm hearts in Lewisburg afflicted by new rules.

Thornton Wilder knew people like those of us re-examining rules on how this city should manage its cemeteries. People with opposite views reach for logic that applies to their situation, and how we should live together and rest in peace together.

"Our Town" monologues tell us that some day - when nothing can be done about it - we might regret a chain of events we were in when something could be done.

It's become clear that some people don't want to speak out in support of new cemetery rules. They're concerned about the nature of the audience. Indeed, one man was asked to leave and did. I didn't recognize him until he chose to use an expletive in my direction at the City Hall elevator doors.

There's been a suggestion to send the new rules back to the Cemetery Board so that panel could hear the public's concerns. That might be worthwhile, but whatever is done, is this the issue that should dominate the two ward elections next month?

Under the current schedule of meetings, the decision will be made after the election.

The current schedule of meetings would also leave the new rules in effect for Mother's Day, which is also Decoration Day in Lewisburg.

Regardless, this issue should not overshadow the council's need to pay close attention to the spending plan for fiscal year 2011-12 that starts on July 1. That means the budget's problems -- lack of revenue and continued expenses -- should be solved in June, and time-consuming decisions must be made in May and June.

Time will not stand still for our town's financial woes.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.