John Redding

John Redding

“Appomattox is not big enough to support a hotel. It is foolish to think that a hotel will be successful here. Who will want to stay in Appomattox?”

Going back a few years, I heard many such comments from friends and acquaintances when discussing the possibility of building a hotel here. Apparently the “numbers” at least suggested that it would not be successful as large chains such as Hilton and Marriott could not be enticed to locate here.

Well, a small group of individuals banded together and built a hotel. And, it has been a roaring success for both the investors and for our community. Not only has the occupancy rate of the lodging spaces been successful, reservations for the renting of the banquet room often require significant advanced booking to be able to secure the venue. It is a project that everyone now references with pride.

This is one example of that old trite saying that says, “There are two kinds of people in the world. Those that say ‘I can’ and those that say ‘I cannot’, both of which are usually right.” In other words, having a positive attitude is a pre-requisite for success.

Looking back 50 years, our neighbors in Nelson County must have had a challenge in mustering a positive attitude after the devastation caused by hurricane Camille. During the immediate aftermath of the storm, with so many pitching in to help and the challenge being so daunting, the adrenalin-supported effort probably did not leave much time for negativity. As soon as the emergency environment subsided, however, how many felt like giving up instead of forging ahead?

The scars of that traumatic event still remain. It is a mark on the timeline of Nelson County — before and after the hurricane. Nelson County today has many indications of economic success. A thriving agriculturally driven tourism industry exists. Orchards, wineries, cideries and distilleries, along with food establishments and venues that promote the natural beauty of the mountainous terrain bring in many visitors. Walton family linkage to the Earl Hamner Jr. inspired TV series and even the infamy of hurricane Camille are additional draws. Congratulations are in order for our neighbors for their journey during the past 50 years.

Although having a positive attitude is certainly a laudable goal, it is not always easy. There are days that I just want to give up and throw in the towel, and I suspect that it is the same with most of you. Negativity can be contagious and, with the help of social media, it seems to spread even more quickly these days. If we are to be successful and better as a community, we must resist the temptation to attack divergent points of view. Disagreement can be healthy as long as it is approached in a constructive manner. Supporting each other will benefit us all. There will likely be missteps taken along the way, but if we strive to make the best of the situations that arise, tomorrow will be brighter.

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