To Camden, With Love

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Wondering why the National League of Cities is feeling so much love this Valentines Day? Learn more at nlc.org!

My Dearest Camden,

It is one of your beautiful 70+ degree days in February when you draw me from my desk and close to you.  I venture as close as possible – there is no other place I’d rather be. The daffodils have risen and the robins are returning, truly your beauty is unmatched. It is no wonder you are an All-American City.

Your population is small, but your future is forever bright. New schools.  Undergrounding. Paving projects. Fine arts. The stir of tourists exploring your fine shops or local friends meeting for lunch helps me realize happiness isn’t measured by the coins in my purse, but by the smiles on their faces. It is such an honor to see your families sitting on the fine verandas or walking their Boykin Spaniels. So often, your youth reminds me why you are so special.

I know your every nook and cranny…I take your every shortcut to enjoy your every offering. To the North, I see you’re standing tall and reaching far.  To the East, your hardworking citizens earn my respect every day. To the West, the Wateree River flows swiftly past. And, to the South, your beautiful fields and pastures peacefully call us all.  At your very core, you allow me to see your many wonders.

Sometimes I am your toughest critic, but always, I am your greatest fan. That is how our relationship has grown and sustained since the day of my birth. Perhaps this is how all your relationships since your birth have flourished.

Having been reared here, and haven chosen to spend my life here, I discovered who I am. I discovered who you are. I discovered a great passion to serve you. You are my home, you are my city, you are my love.

Your fingerprints are forever painted in my mind and on my heart.  As I stand outside, I realize I live, work, worship and play in the most beautiful city in the world.  No other will ever replace you.  Everything you are is everything I adore.  I truly love you Camden, South Carolina.

Forever yours,

Alfred Mae

About the author: Alfred Mae Drakeford, was elected and re-elected to the Camden City Council, the first African American female to hold that position, on November 2, 2004, November 4, 2008 and November 6, 2012.   She was elected Mayor, November 8, 2016.  Mrs. Drakeford is past Chairperson of the Board of Directors Santee Lynches Regional Council of Governments, current Chair of the Audit/Finance Committee, member of the Regional Development Cooperation Board, member of Duke Energy Advisory Board and Honorary Commander at Shaw Air Force.