“For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these.”
It was to be their dream. And not just theirs but all who would pass through its doors who would find help there for their own particular journey toward self-sufficiency, stability and family.
The dream of being the first, ever, as far back as mom and dad – if there was a dad – could remember of relatives that actually had graduated from high school let alone attended college would be the impossible dream given possibilities here.
It wouldn’t be a church but long-term community members would be memorialized here just the same. Perhaps their name placed on a plaque on the wall.
Birthday parties, holidays, a garden out back for budding little green thumbs, story time, cracker-barrel debates over politics, honest-to-goodness-made-from-
Rumors would fly as neighbors gathered by, no need for a newspaper as truth mixed with opinion would ebb and flow in the small community like the coming trains roaring through, to and back again from destinations no one cared about.
It would be swell.
Now gone to hell.
How the collapse of the castle of the community – and the dashing of dreams of so many – came about no one seems sure.
Perhaps there was too much loyalty, not enough honesty. Certainly there was money. Lots of it. Maybe that was it. Easy come, easy go. Smooth sailing, sun shining, visionaries on board half-sleeping and trust – blind trust now in hindsight – incrementally may have led, and lulled, all on board to thinking things were just fine.
And if they weren’t those who could do something about it would get around to it.
But tomorrow never came.
No one rocked the boat. Hard questions weren’t asked. All were friends here after all. Like family.
But where once people shared of their time and swapped stories of times-gone-by, now – like a decrepit hulk of a once-proud sailing vessel shipwrecked along the shore – grave, somber and solemn the castle is no more.
Once known for uncompromising quality – and quantity – of service, the castle is but skeletal remains leaning starkly naked and exposed against one-another, huddling and clinging as if fending off – and afraid of – the inevitable final crushing collapse.
Which no one will hear.
They will have found gathering places elsewhere. Where dreams come true; capped-and-gowned beaming graduates whose tassels were moved are welcomed home to the community where the dream began; gardens are grown; laughter echoes off the walls.
All that could have, should have, have happened here.
But here our story ends – as so many noble enterprises, entrepreneurial aspirations, and even once successful establishments do – with the four saddest words of tongue or pen: