Stihl Dealer Days

Rural Missouri Magazine

’Tis the season to give

by Barry Hart

by Barry Hart

I love this time of year. The frosty mornings signal the holiday season is underway. In downtown Jefferson City florists have hung baskets of Christmas greenery and one of my neighbors down the road already has his Christmas tree up. The local grocery store has sacks of pine cones scented with cinnamon. On the radio, strains of music from “The Nutcracker” catch my ear.

These sights, sounds, smells and temperatures tell me it’s time to start the holiday shopping. Maybe this year I’ll get it done on time without my wife, Laura, nudging me.

The best part of Christmas is giving. Family members drop hints and leave catalogs open to just the right page. Friends draw names and do their best to spoil each other with something outlandish.

It all comes to a head on Dec. 25 when, for one magic moment, all is right in the world. Increasingly, however, I see this spirit of giving becoming more than just a December thing.

In offices across the state, ours included, the dress code has been relaxed so workers can wear jeans. The dress-down days come with a catch around here. Wear denim and it costs you a dollar, with the collected money going to a family we adopted. What fascinates me about our dress-down days is that employees pay the dollar even if they forgot to wear jeans or took vacation that day.

In our break room there are boxes overflowing with food. These will be delivered to a local charity and, in turn, to a needy family.

Sometime this week we will send another check to our friends in Mississippi and Louisiana who were devastated by the fall hurricanes. This money continues to pour in from electric co-op employees and members who will never know the people they helped.

In the Mail Bag section of this issue is a letter about the subject of a story in the November Rural Missouri. This good Samaritan was down to his last $100 because of his efforts to help the homeless. When our readers learned of his good works they responded in typical neighborly fashion. They opened their wallets and checkbooks and sent him another $6,000 that will let him keep up the good work.

Throughout the year electric co-op members let their cooperative round up their electric bills, with the small change funding a multitude of worthy projects.

These Operation Round-up funds are truly making rural Missouri a better place in which to live. They give everyone a chance to help out.

As I ponder the true meaning of the holiday season I can’t help but be amazed at the good that still exists in this world. Amid the tales of tragedy and evil that come to us on the nightly news, we often have to search for the good. But it’s there and always will be.

On behalf of Missouri’s electric cooperative employees and from my family to yours, here’s hoping you are blessed with a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous 2006.

Hart is executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

E-mail Barry Hart

 

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Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives

Rural Missouri
2722 E. McCarty Street
P.O. Box 1645 • Jefferson City, Mo. 65102
573-659-3423

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