A chat with a history maker
Johnny Branson sat in my office in downtown New Boston for quite a while today. I mean, where else would Johnny be, except for downtown in the town he has spent most of his life serving.
We sat and talked for a while about the good, old days. Johnny and I have both been around for a while. We haven’t always seen eye to eye. His eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, and the troubles with mine are well documented. But, Johnny’s eyes on the future are still as bright as ever.
Practically his whole life has been spent guiding New Boston to where it is today. He and I haven’t always agreed on that either, but it is pretty obvious who was right. New Boston sits right now with a very bright future, with projects in the works to make it even brighter. There are new businesses in the pipeline, a new deal to provide water, and a project east of town that could bring new industry.
As the song goes, the future of the city is so bright, it has to wear shades.
There is one thing I have always known about Johnny Branson. He loves New Boston. He planted his roots here, he ran a successful business here, raised a son here that stayed here to make the town better, and Johnny took a town that once had a lone night watchman, and turned it into a city that is now booming.
He will be the first to tell you, as he told us many times today, that he had a lot of help. There were folks that paved the way before him, and if all goes right, there will be new folks to keep the ball rolling right after him.
Make no mistake, Johnny Branson is not going to fade into the twilight. You can bet you will still see him, with his sleeves rolled up, ready to do whatever he can to help.
We laughed today about an incident years ago where we got crossways. I can be stubborn, and I like to get my way. Johnny likes to get his way too. So, when we butted heads one time, he called the owner of the place I work for, who made a five-hour trip, drove straight to City Hall, and that was that.
Today, neither one of us could remember why, and we laughed. It was at that point that I realized, I should have done what the late Ann Pope told me to always do. Ann was my go to critic and mentor in my early days here at the Tribune. I sat in front of her desk at least once a week at the DISD administration building. She once gave me some sage advice. She said, “Kenny, just always be honest, and if Johnny Branson tells you to do something, just do it.”
Ya know, I know some other folks that might want to heed that advice.
Let me finish by saying this. New Boston, and Bowie County, have a lot to thank Johnny Branson for doing, we really do.
I think I might just lead the way to have Front Street renamed Branson Boulevard. Or maybe, the little strip of land out there where we do so many activities at the east end of the pavilion could be named the Branson Boardwalk. In fact, as he left the Tribune office today, he told Heather Wilson that she was going to have to sing to him sometime soon. How cool would it be if she sang The Star Spangled Banner, at the ribbon cutting to Branson Boulevard.
Ya, I think that just might work.