A couple of years ago I got a T-shirt emblazoned, “Where ever I may roam, Douglasville is still my home.” I hung it in my closet and have never worn it. I’ve asked myself why it just stays there. If you live in Cherokee County, you can probably answer the question ahead of me.

Where I was born is important, but where I live and where I have discovered my life and identity now far outweigh where I was born. I’ve had several possibilities for identity. As a child, I lived in Florida. During my high school and college years, we lived in South Carolina. When I married a girl from California, that became my home for several years. Part of my education took me to Minnesota before returning to Athens, Georgia. I lived again in Atlanta before settling in the early 1970s into Cherokee County.

Cherokee grows on you! The beauty and variety of the local scenery match the goodness and graciousness of the people who populate this county. The educational system is first class. The elected leaders are neighbors and friends as well as politicians. The medical community and facilities are superior. The churches provide a haven for a variety of worshippers. In almost every area of community life, Cherokee gets a top ranking.

So, I’m going to have to buy a new T-shirt which simply says, “Cherokee is my home. I don’t want to roam any further.”

In this wonderful area, we discover people who can disagree with each other and still cooperate for the good of our wider community. Even during a national election process, our community has shown an ability to discover ways to “dream” together, not only about Cherokee County but also about these United States.

To live here and call Cherokee home is a factor we don’t always appreciate. It is not enough to remember the “good old days.” To keep Cherokee and its best days ahead of us will call for a renewed spirit of decency, respect for each other and the preservation of our great natural resources. That’s the kind of Cherokee I call home. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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Dr. James E. Kilgore retired as President of the International Family Foundation and lives in Canton. His most recent book, “Living Without Limits,” was published in late 2019 and is available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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