Denton……….and CHOICE. Should the City Council butt out?

No one likes smoke. Most smokers don’t like smoke. But, the fact is smoking is legal and people do smoke. Being legal, people have the right to smoke and if a business decides to not allow smoking, then there is no smoking. If a business decides to allow smoking, then people who smoke can and those who don’t are free not to go into said business…….at least for now.

The Denton City Council is about to consider a total ban on smoking in businesses.

That’s right, they are thinking about taking away the right of a business owner to run their business, legally, the way they want. Do we really want the Council to make decisions about what we can or cannot do with our businesses?

I really don’t care about smoking.

That is not the issue here. The base issue here is freedom. Does the City Council have the power or the right to tell a business it cannot do something which is legal? The issue is also responsibility. Do you feel you have the intelligence to decide what is right for you? Are able to decide for yourself not to drink a beer if you think it’s not good for you? It should be your decision, not the decision of seven men at City Hall.

Let’s keep it that way.

Let’s take smoking out of the equation.

Instead, let’s substitute rental property. If you owned a bunch of rental property, what would you think if the City Council voted to ban renting YOUR property to other people due to potential liability? Would that seem right?

Or what if the City Council banned bicycle riding because people have died while riding bikes. Would you approve of that?

Or what if you had an incredible program to help parents guide their children to excel in life, but the City Council banned the use of video in such programs? Would that be right?

Or what if the City Council decided that caffeine should be banned? It’s a drug, like the nicotine in cigarettes after all. Would you be OK with that?

Who should make these basic decisions? All of these examples are legal. Should the City Council really make such decisions for business owners? The smoking ordinance adopted by the City Council two years ago, sensibly allowed Denton business owners the CHOICE of allowing smoking in their establishments……..or not. The ordinance also gave Denton citizens the CHOICE to go into a business which allows smoking……..or not. No one forces anyone to enter a business.

Again, this is not about smoking, it’s about personal responsibility, boundaries and CHOICE.

Not Dentoning……….

The Mercer Stone

The Mercer Stone

Let’s face it, we all have times when we can’t be in Denton. It happens. It doesn’t make us bad people, maybe miserable people while we’re gone, but not bad people. Surviving those times can be a challenge. The times away from Denton can be caused by a multitude of different reasons, none of them good reasons, but they are what they are.

Family-emergency-caused absenteeism is probably the most well accepted of all the excuses……I mean, reasons. Business travel is another. Vacation still another. The last one I don’t get, but hey, that’s just me…

Family reunions, helping your brother-in-law move out of the house, visits to the Mayo Clinic for exacerbated ingrown toenail appointments and dead grandmothers are all legitimate and exempted occasions which can remove us from Denton and thus Dentoning…..

I’ll give you an example of not-Dentoning. There really isn’t a typical variation of this, each person’s separation from Denton is unique, in and of itself, and should be dealt with accordingly. Of course it should never be bragged about, but sometimes telling your story of time away can help others when they have to confront such times in the future.

I am now not Dentoning.

I’m not proud of it, but it’s happening.

I am in Virginia, helping out a friend. This is a friend I’ve known since junior high, and I consider him my 3rd brother. I am minding the manor while he is away. If one is forced to be away from Denton, this is not a bad place to be.

My friend lives in a very nice house built in 1753. The ruins of an old mill are behind the house and there are still regular fox hunts in the area. 1753 of course, predates Denton which is really difficult for me to wrap my head around. How can that be? As I sit here in an office where George Washington used to buy flour, I have to feel sorry for him and those of his time who didn’t even have the ability to go Dentoning. Oh…..the humanity.

I will be here for a total of eleven days. That is a LONG time not to be doing it.

As you can tell by the age of the house, this is an area ripe with history. The house itself was built on British Territory before being liberated by patriots of the American Revolutionary War. The house has seen three wars……..the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. That is a war-rich environment!

The countryside surrounding Sally Mill is speckled with historic markers, 250 year old houses, low, stone fences built with rock cleared from the fields centuries ago, old slave quarters, and some really nice people. There are only 625 people who live in this town and I don’t know all of them yet, but I’ve only been here 4 days.

As of yet, I know (by name) Cindy who owns the local coffee shop, Barbara who works for her, Jack who is the caretaker of the Mercer Stone (more to follow) and his brother Bud. I’ve shook and howdy’d with some others, but these I know by name.

Cindy and Barbara are nice and called me “Tex” until we properly introduced ourselves. Jack and Bud are a different and fascinating story.

Jack is now in possession of the “Mercer Stone”. This stone is claimed by many to be the predecessor of the “Stone of Scone”, on which the Kings and Queens of England have been crowned for over a 1000 years. Queen Elizabeth was crowned on a throne containing the stone in 1953.

The story is told that the present Mercer Stone was taken to Ireland in the years BC from the Holy Land. This was in the time of Moses and before Christ’s birth, so this thing is OLD! The royalty of Ireland was crowned while seated on the stone for centuries until it was “borrowed” by the Scots. They continued the tradition of rock-related crowning until the British got jealous.

Well one day, the King of Scotland heard that the King of England was coming to get his rock, and he wasn’t too keen on the idea. He hid the Mercer Stone and replaced it with a hunk of Scottish sandstone for the English King to take. Having never seen the stone, he took it back to Westminster Abbey in London and the royalty from then to now have been crowned on an imposter stone.

So, you might ask……..why is the Mercer Stone in Virginia now? It seems back in the 1700′s, a man named Charles Mercer somehow obtained the stone and brought it to the Colonies to give to his daughter as a wedding present. Evidently, she wasn’t too fond of it and had it placed in a spring where it remained until just the past few years.

A while back, my new friend Jack, mentioned above, heard that the land from which the spring flowed was for sale and bought it. Within a month…..and before he could retrieve the stone, some Free Masons from about 100 miles away came with a truck and a crane and stole the stone!!

Well fortunately, a lady saw this stone rustling as it was happening and took a picture of the truck which included the license plate number. Jack was able to track the truck and thus, the stone to where it had been secreted by the vile, thieving Free Masons. Jack and brother Bud quickly went to said place to retrieve their rock. They were met with guns and nastiness. The sheriff was called, and before long, the Mercer Stone was returned to a safe place near Sally Mill……..where it resides today.

Not all non-Dentoning stories can be as intriguing as this one……I just lucked out. Suffice it to say, while not-Dentoning is something to be avoided at all costs, one can learn irrelevant information in the process.

I have six additional days of not-Dentoning and it IS a challenge. I’m pretty sure I’ll survive, but I can’t wait to get back to my town and to my way of life……

Does Denton need a Nanny?

Our country was founded on Freedom. The Freedom to live our lives the way we want. The Boston Tea Party sparked the American Revolution which gave us the freedoms we now hold dear. That Tea Party was a protest regarding someone else (Britain) telling our forefathers what they could and couldn’t do. As long as what we do does not harm others and is legal, we are free to do pretty much what we want.

Two years ago, the Denton City Council formed an ad hoc committee to come up with smoking guidelines for the City. The group consisted of bar owners, physicians, professors and several others with backgrounds reflective of Denton. I was a member of that committee. We came up with a policy the City Council agreed with and adopted. The policy banned smoking in areas you’d expect such as schools, parks, public buildings etc. When it came to bars, the guidelines let the owners decide how to run their businesses with reasonable ages limitations.

The present City Council is now seriously considering a total ban.

Are non-smokers the only group with rights? Do business owners have the right to run their businesses?,

Smoking is legal. For full disclosure, I smoke an occasional cigar. With that said, I have complete knowledge of the health risks of smoking and I never smoke anywhere where others would disapprove. With cigars, one doesn’t inhale. There are still risks, but it is not the same as cigarette smoking. People who do smoke are doing nothing illegal.

The over-riding issue is personal freedom.

If a business owner wants to allow smoking in their establishment, is it up to the City Council to tell them that they cannot? The business owner should have the right to allow smoking and the public should have the right NOT to frequent that establishment if they don’t want to be around smoke. Freedom for everyone!

If smoking was illegal, it would be a different story. It is not. Is it a good thing? No, but it’s legal.

Smoking though is not the issue here.

As Americans we are free to decide what we do. No one forces anyone to enter a smoke-filled business. No one forces anyone to work at said business. We have to take on the responsibility to do what is right for us. Do we really want others dictating what we can and cannot do when it is legal?

Freedom is the backbone of our great nation.

Taking away PERSONAL FREEDOMS of Denton Citizens is not the business of the City Council.

Denton doesn’t need a Nanny…….

The plan....

Dentoning………you can do it!

From time to time, our ability to go about our daily Dentoning becomes hampered. This of course, is not a good thing. Sometimes this hampering is unnecessary and avoidable…..like when you’re just too tired (never a good excuse), other times it IS necessary and due to situations which will lead to better and improved Dentoning.

The plan....

The plan….

Such is the case now with the construction on East Hickory Street. The large scale work being done to the street, parking areas and sidewalks is a temporary pain which will result in a much better Entertainment District.

Hickory Street construction

Hickory Street construction

The hampering caused by said construction is truly minor. We can still get to anywhere we want on Hickory St…….it just takes a slight degree of additional effort.

That slight degree of additional effort has caused a bit of a problem in that some people don’t want to exert that effort and the businesses along Hickory Street are struggling.

I’m not going to tell you that Dentoning isn’t all fun and games…….it IS, but one must, at times, make the most of less than ideal situations……..for the greater good. The construction is temporary and eventually will be a mere blip in our remembrances, but right now we need to overcome the perceived inconvenience and take our Dentoning to Hickory Street…..

….for the greater good.

There are are six excellent restaurants on Hickory Street……Rusty Tacos, Hoochie’s, Mellow Mushroom, Andaman, Weinbergers and Queenie’s. There are also other businesses such as Vigne, Noles, Weldon’s, Shine It Auto Detailing, Campus Barbers, Bell & Oak and Hickory Street Lounge…..

All of these fine establishments are being adversely affected by the re-do of the street.

Let’s ignore the slight inconvenience of taking a few extra steps, dodging giant City trucks, circumventing plastic orange fencing and the slight chance of drowning should the excavated portion of the street re-flood.

It’s not a big deal!

Cool new bridge!!

Cool new bridge!!

So, let’s all join hands and……..no, let’s not do that…..

Let’s just put on our big boy/girl underwear, overlook the construction and make an effort to patronize the businesses along Hickory Street during this temporary, yet much needed minuscule hampering.

….for the greater good.