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I live in a community that was once a nice bedroom community of mostly middle class families. There were a few things that attributed to the decline of the area but the most significant was its annexation into the city limits. This had been decade's long battle and Hickory Hill finally lost to the inglorious city of Memphis. Most of the white middle class residents fled for the shiny, new cookie cutter homes of the new suburbs and many of the black families stayed and more Hispanics moved in. The area became notorious for its supposedly high level of crime. We all know how the media loves to sensationalize and scapegoat. This trend with the local media left Hickory Hill with an indelible scar and soon many businesses moved or were forced to close altogether.

After a 2008 tornado, which narrowly missed my own home, ripped a chunk out of the Hickory Ridge Mall, it was forced to close. A local church, World Overcomers, has purchased and reopened the mall as a retail and community center. I applaud their efforts in revitalizing the community. This revitalization included a community pride parade that took place on Saturday, April 3. Now to the point...

My home is in a small subdivision that has no through streets. There is only one way out- a major street that was part of the parade route. The problem came when I tried to leave and a local sheriff had the way out blocked and told me and several other residents that we could not leave under any circumstances other than a medical emergency. Yes, I was livid. Fuming. Pissssssssed! I do not appreciate being held captive in my home. The sheriff was no help. He didn't have a schedule or anything. We were just indefinitely stuck. About two hours later, I was finally able to leave and the madness wasn't over. I had to go the opposite direction of my destination and when I got to the intersection that would allow me to turn and get on the right path, the bumbling officers who were supposed to direct traffic were standing shrugging their shoulders. Traffic was not following the traffic lights. The turning lane was blocked by a squad car and when I had to yell out of my window "Hello! Can I turn here?!", the officer casually replied, "Yeah."

Now rewind to when I and several of my neighbors had to drive in reverse back to our homes. I told my immediate neighbor that I was filing a complaint with the city because the church they issued the permit to did not do due diligence and make sure that this small enclave of residents were each given the route and approximate time that the parade would come down the street that is the only way out of their neighborhood. We, in turn, would not all be so upset at this blatant disregard of our time and presence. We would made sure that we hauled ass out of there before said time or known we'd be trapped...for hours. This was completely unacceptable and avoidable if things were done properly. Even though I was not attending the parade because of a prior commitment, I was very pleased with the gesture to unite the community. But how it all went down just marred the celebration for me.