— Lou Gehrig
From the moment I received the wedding invitation I could barely wait for 8-18-18 to get here. Little did I know, 8-18-18 would turn out to be one of the most memorable days of my life.
First Monroeville gave us all the goose bumps our bodies could hold as we observed the “Fallen Heroes” memorial. That reminded us all of who we lost in the endless war against terror. As we looked at those fresh-faced young people who gave their lives so that might safely live here in America, I really wanted to thank each and every family who lost so much. Gratefully, we met Jason Sparks’ mom, Monroeville’s own personal contribution to this war and we told her we will never stop visiting her son’s grave, for we can do no more.
Then we went to our aunt and uncle’s 75th wedding anniversary party. Married during WW II, they have lived as well as prospered through all the trials, triumphs and tribulations life has tossed their way and they continue to smile, laugh and love to this day. To put it mildly, they inspire everyone whom they touch as well as those of us who try to touch them.
The wedding was everything and more that I hoped it would be. The groom a longtime softball teammate from a family I respect and admire had his wedding at place near and dear to both of us, my beloved — Norwalk Furniture. They were married next to the shelter house under a tree his grandma often used for shade. Family, love, heritage as well as thankfulness bubbled over for all.
Personally, I could barely wait to get inside the factory for the reception because in many ways that is home to my heart. So I spent the evening talking of the old days, reading every article on the walls and looking around the curtains at that beautiful factory.
Many times I’ve called Norwalk “The City of Champions” and, of course, no place shows the can-do caring, championship winning spirit of our wonderful hometown like Norwalk Furniture. Those 12 families and their irreplaceable plant manager who saved furniture from total collapse 10 years ago showed America what Norwalk, Ohio is all about.
Of course, those of us who have been challenged by life in many ways we never dreamed possible also will testify in Norwalk, Ohio if you have a great need it will be met with great help; by great people; with great caring, compassionate hearts that will help in any way possible.
Truly we are “The City of Champions.”
Ten years goes by in the blink of an eye to an old geezer like me. Not surprisingly, the 10th anniversary party of the saving of our beloved furniture is about to be celebrated. Here’s hoping Norwalk Furniture your party is like you — a smashing success (FYI : This year is shaping up to be their best year yet, sales wise).
As for me knowing the price way too many young people and families pay for my freedom, seeing how wonderful lives should be led in 75-year marriages, watching young love set off on their journey and touring the little factory that wouldn’t quit makes this proud resident of the “City of Champions” rise every day and acknowledge that like Lou Gehrig said: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
Cliff Cannon is a Norwalk resident.