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Limited and unlimited horizons

EDITOR’S NOTE as an editorial comment: While looking through The Tomahawk archives this week, I thought it would be interesting to look at a newspaper from July 4th in 1965, 50 years ago. What I found was an article written by a Johnson County native, W.K. Main – an article that needs reading again by a current audience. Technology has made this world into a smaller place than it was during Mr. Main’s lifetime. We see distant lands and people on our TVs and computer screens on a daily basis. News and features are available to us 24/7; yet, as a whole, we remain strangers to those that lead different lives than our own. Perhaps, today in 2015, we should heed the words of a wise and learned man from a simpler time and consider the possibilities that lie before us if we but broaden our horizons.
~Angie A. Gambill
Tomahawk Editor 2015

JULY 7, 1965 – (Editor’s note: The ensuing article is a contribution of W.K. Main, an Elizabethton attorney, and a native of Johnson County. His father was once sheriff of this county. He spent many years in the educational profession before taking up the practice of law. Mr. Main has studied the ancient and modern culture of Mexico for the past two summers. First at Instituto Technologico in Monterrey, and the past summer at the National University in Mexico City. His very special interest is in the pre-Spanish culture of the Toltee, the Maya and Aztec Indians, and the earlier inhabitants of Mexico before the Christian era. He returned the past week to continue his studies and research at Instituto Technologico and made special arrangements to participate in a workshop on the ‘Mexican Way of Life’ at the University of the Americas in Mexico City. Main has studied and traveled widely.)

Limited and
Unlimited Horizons
I spent the past two summers in a foreign country, studying the people and how they lived.
Not long after my return home, a friend asked me why I spent so much time and money in foreign countries.
I told him that the reason, perhaps, could be better explained by relating a personal experience I had some years ago in Switzerland, high in an Alpine Valley.
It was in this valley I met a world famous watchmaker. In fact, I had gone there to see him and to buy one of the watches he made himself. I bought the watch from him and he called my attention to the fact that numerals on the face did not stop at 12 and start again at 1 as was the custom in the states, but that the numerals went straight through to 23. He said this was better because it reminded us constantly how time is fleeting.
This village was surrounded on all sides, with the exception of a narrow valley leading in and out, with very high Alpine mountains perpetually covered with snow and ice. I asked the watchmaker if he had ever seen the other side of the mountains. He dropped his head and said wistfully that he had not, and that now he was very sorry and sad that he had never climbed these mountains and taken a long look at the other sides, but he was now convinced he had waited too long. He was now old and too feeble to climb these mountains, and that he would probably never see what was beyond those horizons.
One’s horizons are as far as he can see from where he stands – where the mountains, hills or the plains meet the sky. These are limited horizons.

To read the entire article, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.