It would be churlish of us not to take notice of the season, and we are not churls. "Happy Thanksgiving!" we say — a salutation that presupposes there are things we can be thankful for, and there are, of course. We should name some, for the record.
First, there is the fact that Memphis, low finisher in so many published polls that purport to rank the urban advantages of American cities, can boast some successes in that line, as well. That's true even with the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a recent survey in which we, perhaps unfairly, took our lumps in such matters as healthy behavior and — according to the Nashville Scene, a counterpart alternative weekly — "access to health care." (Access to health care! Are they kidding? What do they make of our city's burgeoning biotech industry and the UT Health Science Center complex located here? See all those cranes at work?)
And even the Gallup-Healthways survey could not fail to note that, among American cities at large, our city has a saving grace, forcing the Scene to acknowledge about Memphians that "they're in great shape and they come in at 32nd in terms of emotional health and 38th in terms of general life evaluation. Whatever Memphis is doing to enjoy life, we need to learn it and implement it here."
We have cultural and lifestyle advantages ranging from the Grizzlies to the Greenline. We have the Mississippi River and a trio of spans across it — one of which, the long-dormant Harahan Bridge, is destined for a handsome upgrading that will provide direct pedestrian connections to the Arkansas side of the river.
Speaking of the river, the Beale Street Landing project is finally nearing completion, and the on-again/off-again Bass Pro development for the Pyramid continues to progress.
Route 385, which links Millington to Collierville through the city's eastern suburbs, just got completed this past week, and the busy work of widening Interstate 240 is well under way.
Maybe we can upgrade our convention center, and maybe we can't. But at least we're talking about it.
And perhaps best of all, the public-school situation in Shelby County, which has been a trying source of discontent for the past three years, is finally on its way to being resolved. The terms of the developing settlement provide six suburban municipalities with the independence they've been looking for, and they seem also to guarantee a brighter financial future for the former Memphis City Schools than has been the case in recent years.
In any case, all the schools fuss and bother is on its way to being over. Maybe we're being Pollyanna-ish, but it begins to seem possible that we might have a spell of being able to enjoy the advantages mentioned above and others — a great zoo, wonderful parks, and did we mention the music?