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COLUMN: Go ask Alice

Illustration by Sir John Tenniel from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll

Alice: “Have I gone mad?”
Mad Hatter: “I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are.”

Yesterday, May 4, was “Alice’s” birthday. Not Alice from the 1967 Arlo Gutherie hit song “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” but Alice, the precocious young lady from the Lewis Carroll classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

Alice Liddell, whom Carroll based his Alice upon, was born on May 4 and thus he gave his “Alice” the same birthday. As I try to knot the bow on my two previous columns on art and history, we must begin with the thesis: “I think we’re all mad here, but with shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, we can make a difference.”

Oh, McDonald son, you’ve been running without a hat on for too long. The sun has cooked your casaba.

Perhaps…but, as always, I ask that you hear me out. By the way, the mad I’m referring to has absolutely nothing to do with emotion…it has to do with the eccentricities of a community.

Throughout the past few weeks, I have been providing discourse on the local art scene and the local historical preservation that has been occurring within the community. I have had the pleasure of interviewing artists, actors, writers, contractors, farmers, politicians and many other folks in the community and there is one point that we all can agree upon: art and history can help sustain a community.


“There has been a great connection between the actors and the audience during this performance,” said Merrie Dawkins, director of the Richmond Community Theatre’s performance of “The Trip to Bountiful.” Art helps build community pride.

Throughout the community, building and revitalization is occurring. Brian and Nicole Darling are working on houses over on Everett Street and have visions of working on other commercial and residential projects throughout the community. History helps build community pride.

So, what does all of this mean? Community pride is important. Whether it be from performing in a play, a concert or painting a masterpiece. Building, rebuilding or repurposing historical homes and commercial spaces. It’s all related. Community pride is infectious.

Alice: “This is my dream. I’ll decide where I’ll go from here.”

We can build our dreams and we can share them as well. Let’s promote our thriving arts community and our renaissance. The future is a positive and bright place. Let’s enjoy the journey.

Christopher McDonald is an accomplished educator and military veteran with experience in print and radio. Reach him at cmcdonald@richmondobserver.com.

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