EDITORIAL: ‘Charles Canady Park’ would be lasting tribute to leader’s legacy of service
Charles Canady could have been the hero of a big Hollywood movie. Picture the panoramic views from our surrounding hills, the sounds of an orchestra building to a crescendo like they used to in those old Westerns, the open sky, the San Gabriel River at Blue Hole.
Then the camera would move to a shot of the old Quick Service Garage and a worn-out pickup truck where Charles would come out from under the hood to wipe his hands and discuss local politics while telling the truck owner that it’s okay, he can bring him the money on pay day or whenever he is passing back through town.
Lonesome Dove, except with motorized vehicles.
The next scene would have Charles looking over the city budget and trying to discover where he can find the money to make a real city park out of a bunch of pasture land.
But Charles Canady would never have stood around while someone directed him to stand here or there or say this or that.
That’s because he was too busy being a real person. The kind of person that we don’t see much anymore in local politics, or for that matter–anywhere.
Charles came from a long line of folks who were raised to make a difference in the world. He moved easily from passionate issues to the mundane, everyday work of serving his community. He would listen, think and lead. He did this without calling attention to himself or acting like it was a big deal.
As mayor, he would patiently speak with the big city media as the back bench reporters from Austin once again discovered Liberty Hill. He would carefully explain the issue of the day often to later see himself portrayed negatively on Austin television news. But by the time the city slickers were editing their video, he was back under the hood of the car of a single mom who needed it fixed so she could go to work.
Some paid, some tried, some couldn’t and he never seemed to judge.
Charles practiced his faith in broad daylight where everyone could see. He seemed to do this without thought, as one would breathe in and out, or blink an eye.
Once he told me that as a little boy he’d sit next to the open window of the Church of Christ. Between hymns he could hear the singing drifting over from the baptist church. This story was just another of his common ground parables that we will all miss so much.
He was elected to serve on the city council for 13 years. He moved our community, sometimes by sheer force of will, toward steady reasonableness. While others staked out their political positions, Charles seemed to enjoy finding the center, the place where he could make good things happen.
The future to him began with children. One of his top quality-of-life pet projects was the City Park. It was goat pasture, but he could see a future with hundreds of children playing all kinds of sports. His push for clean water and sewer hookups might have been the future to business growth, but the city park was a labor of love. While he also worked hard to create a police department to protect the town, he pushed endlessly to develop a park that would have something for everyone.
Today, The Independent encourages city leaders to rename City Park after Charles Canady.
Charles loved his hometown and was driven by a heartfelt connection to this place on the Shin Oak Ridge. He spent his entire life here and wanted Liberty Hill to be a place where his children could raise their families. As an elected official, he helped to shape his hometown, motivated by a desire to make this place better for everyone.
On behalf of a grateful community, we encourage the Mayor and City Council to create a lasting tribute to a man who paved the way for the city’s growth, and whose leadership forever changed our hometown. This is an issue that just makes sense and is something all of us should get behind and support.
Charles Canady Park.
~ Charley Wilkison