I needed to break the traditional structure of this column because this is a really special week. The last few months have been challenging for all of us as we watched our paper (and in some ways our town) become something we weren’t familiar with. Jas Hook had the best of intentions when he tried to take the Chronicle to a global level, but the truth is, Neverland can’t be bottled. It’s a rare place, uniquely its own – a sort of Camelot, or Brigadoon, or Narnia perhaps. In all my adventures across America, and Europe, and (upcoming!) Asia, I have never seen and will never see its like. But, wherever we go and whatever we do, we’ll always carry Neverland in our hearts. And we can share a little of its magic by continuing to represent the qualities that make it so great.
Kindness. Neverlandians welcome all who come here with open arms and inquiring minds. Whatever their occupation, inclination, or species, those who come to Neverland find friendship, fun, and understanding. The Neverland Fate Stalkers exists solely to facilitate the process of falling in love – that bush next to you isn’t just a topiary, it’s your own personal matchmaker. And Neverland Wish Granters raise money to make Neverlandians’ dreams come true!
Community. It seems like every other week, we’ve all gathered at the Jolly Roger Soda Ship to listen to Fish Girl Pond or to celebrate some sprecial occasion. At Neverland Books you can find a story to fuel your imagination or a sympathetic ear from Bri or Mia. Lola will teach you how to ride, Amanda will tell you your fortune, and Enya Rose will keep you fit. Wherever you are in town, Sheriff Tacos and Slayer Teresa Delacruz make sure our town stays safe.
Creativity. We make things here! Katie will make you the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted (in wild flavors like Pan Punch). The Darlings are always writing something, be it insightful, zany, or derrière related. Juliet Parsons builds beautiful houses, Aria Griffiths dances, and we are all acting in Broadway level productions like Panlet and The Wedding Crashers. Also, this girl I know writes this fabulous column that keeps track of it all…
Magic. In case you missed it, we got a lot of fairies here in the land of Never. Besides the irascible Tink (just recently crowned The Fairy Queen!), many residents have shown a supernatural inclination. Little Lilly-Jane can be seen constantly flying out of Jo and Freddie’s arms. Amy and Nanny Ams (who is mysteriously missing!) have been coaching brand new fairy Aria and may need to offer their wisdom to Teresa who has sprouted wings of her own.
Love. The thing that makes Neverland stand out to me the most is all the love. There must be something in the water (or in all that fairy dust). Soulmates just seem to find each other here. We’ve witnessed the weddings of Mia and Eli Traynor, Juliet and Wes Parsons and soon Bri and Sheriff Tacos and Teresa and Neal. More recently, true love has found Gemma and Anna, Aria and Charlie, and Peter and Wendy. And if the sight of John and John walking around town arm in arm doesn’t make your heart grow three sizes, you need more fairy dust!
We may not be able to take Neverland with us on our journeys across the world, but we can always hold onto the things that make it special. Be kind to yourselves and others, find your people and make room for the unexpected additions. You never know who you greatest friends, allies and inspirations will be. Keep using those beautiful imaginations to tells stories and express what’s in your heart. Never stop believing in magic, and don’t forget that it all comes from love. As long as you keep coming back to that very simple truth, you will never be far from Neverland, Ohio.
Love, love, love,