“White Springs is a small, friendly town nestled on the banks of the Suwannee River, where pride in family, community, and patriotism create a wonderful quality of life.” So proclaims the city’s website.
Things aren’t hopping like they did in the heyday of the springs, but the town is doing the best it can with an annual folk festival and other artificial attractions.
“The popularity of mineral springs as health resorts faded in the 1930s,” the site concedes, “but by 1950 the Stephen Foster Memorial Museum . . . which honors the author of the world-renowned song of the Suwannee River, ‘Old Folks at Home,’ continued the tourist trade.”
Let’s all sing the chorus together:
"Way down upon the Swanee River,
Far, far, away,
There’s where my heart is turning ever,
There’s where the old folks stay."
On second thought, let’s not sing the chorus together. Some of you readers can’t carry a tune. You know who you are, or do you?
And now, back to the editorial:
Located in north central Florida near the Georgia border, White Springs is “far, far, away” from many places, including the Gulf of Mexico, which is roughly 80 miles to the southwest. Their far removal from the Gulf Coast and from all possible damages caused by the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill did not, however, deter public officials of White Springs from filing claims against BP – one day before the three-year deadline lapsed.
White Springs officials say their town lost tax revenue because of a statewide downturn in tourism directly related to the oil spill. Much of that downturn could be attributed to bad journalism grossly exaggerating the environmental impact of the spill, but newspapers aren’t doing so well these days, so why sue them?
What White Springs officials should be concerned about is the fallout from a patently bogus lawsuit that discourages tourists from visiting a place that is not only geographically, but also morally, “far, far away.”