Monday night, the Friends of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library announced their decision to name their endowment fund to enhance the library’s childhood reading program for Edwina Williams, who is far better known as Mother Goose.
This had to be the easiest choice in the whole history of choosing.
For decades now, there has been no more reliable proponent of reading among our children than Mother Goose. Williams took on the persona of Mother Goose in her 30s when she was a substitute teacher. She discovered that little children immediately related to the fairy-tale character as she read to the children at the library.
She has been Mother Goose ever since and has continued to read to children at the library. She is now reading to the children of the children she once read to. We will not be at all surprised if she is reading to the grandchildren of those children some years down the road.
We are glad, then, that the Friends of the Library made their announcement Monday, not only because it is a well-deserved honor, but because it allows us to pay homage to a lady who has become an iconic figure in Columbus. Her contributions go far beyond reading to kids at the library, of course. Wherever there is cause for celebration in town, Mother Goose is there, sometimes singing, sometimes displaying her prowess as a pianist, always smiling. In truth, it isn’t a real celebration unless Mother Goose is on hand.
Too often, we adults are inclined to take her for granted, we fear.
It is not so with children.
To a child, there is wonder in every flower that blooms and “every careless cloud that (passes) in happy freedom by.”
We tend to lose that as we grow older. We become busy, distracted, preoccupied, even cynical.
But a child never does.
Maybe that is why, whenever Mother Goose makes an appearance, children swarm to her. Not being busy or distracted or preoccupied, with no guile or cynicism to cloud the purity of their hearts, they can appreciate her for the treasure she is.
Sadly, Wordsworth is not always correct in his observation, “the Child is Father of the man.”
We too often look at, but do not see, the treasures among us.
Mayors and councilmen and supervisors and, yes, newspaper editors, have come and gone since Edwina Williams first put on her costume and carried her plush toy goose out into our community. Those people have left their marks on the community, for better or worse and to varying degrees.
But who is to say that Mother Goose has not contributed more, in some indelible way?
One thing that no one can dispute is that Columbus is a better place for having had Mother Goose as its unofficial ambassador.
It is good to have a reminder of that from time to time.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.