Don’t Just Sit There … Do Something!

By on 11 September, 2014 in Real Estate, Sandra Nickel with 2 Comments

Rarely a day goes by that I don’t receive a call from one or more Midtown resident who is angry and/or distressed by the condition of a nearby property. Generally I suggest that the caller contact Montgomery’s great 311 service to file a complaint. Sometimes that actually gets done, and often it does not. It almost seems as if the caller just wants someone else to do something.

When I was growing up and I complained, my parents generally said to me, “Don’t just sit there — do something. You’re too darned big to be decorative!” In retrospect, it’s one of the things I most appreciate about my upbringing: the not-so-subtle message that I was responsible for what went on in and around my world. For this reason, I really appreciate it when others go beyond complaining and actually take action. So, today I want to tip my hat to two such individuals.

Al Cantrell owns my neighborhood florist, Al’s Flowers on Carter Hill Road. He was instrumental in creating and placing the handsome Mulberry District signage. Al became dissatisfied with the condition of the old T.J. Best Building on Mulberry Street. Rather than complaining, he took action. He now owns the building and is renovating it into what will soon become a huge neighborhood asset, Al’s Antique Mall.

A gentleman who wishes to remain nameless just purchased an overgrown, vacant and vandalized rental house next door to his home of 34 years in the Cloverland community. He will renovate the house and either allow a family member to move in or will very carefully select a tenant who understands what it means to be a good neighbor. What’s more, he yesterday shared with me that he and another homeowner on the block have decided to buy up all the other bad houses and overgrown vacant lots on their street. Now that’s taking action!


Next time you’re inclined to complain about something, perhaps instead you can take a cue from Mahatma Ghandi who so wisely counseled, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Or if that’s just a bit high-toned for you, just pretend you hear my father and mother admonishing, “Do something — you’re too darned big to be decorative!”

Sandra Nickel has been listing and selling residential real estate for over 30 years, most with an intense focus on Montgomery’s Midtown neighborhoods. Sandra serves on the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, the Cloverdale Business Coalition, Historic Southview, the Volunteer and Information Center, Landmarks Foundation and her own neighborhood Garden District Preservation Association.

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  1. Jeanne Charbonneau says:

    Great reminder of a wonderful lesson in life. We were always taught that you cannot utter a complaint unless you follow the complaint with at least two proposed solutions. But I really like “You’re too darn big to be decorative.” Funny while true! Can we hope to see photos of the renovated property when your anonymous neighbor is done with the renovations? Hope so!

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