This past week my sister has taken on quite the task. Recently she heard that our small town was considering not having the annual Christmas parade this December. If you know my sister… the ‘Queen of Christmas Spirit’ she was not having it. It absolutely was not an option. So she quickly began asking around and found the reason why this was so. The team that usually put this together had disbanded and they simply had not found anyone willing to take on such a task. That was enough information for my sister to step up and take on the 2016 Ash Grove Christmas Parade. Next thing she knew she was at a meeting down at the town
hall and being officially crowned organizer of this event. She called me after this meeting and informed me that she said I would help, which despite what you may think I was very exciting about. How hard could it be? Well, probably hard, but my sister does this sort of thing all the time. She is the sponsor of many clubs at the school she teaches at which already gives her a leg up on the event. With the whirlwind of organizing, floats and marching bands heading our way this made me think of how proud my grandma would be of my sister.
My grandma was very involved in the community and would have stepped up anywhere she needed to. She would have never let a tradition like the Christmas Parade be cancelled simply because they couldn’t find anyone to organize it. She would have volunteered and made sure the town’s children were not disappointed. See my grandma wrote a cookbook and had it published by a local publishing company right before she passed away. A cookbook with many personal stories and lessons called, “Good Food and Good Company. The Tale of a Good Place to Live” by Carolyn Cawlfield Burgess. The book opens up with a passage called “Hometown” and teaches the lesson of the importance of making your town a community of people who look after one another. She wrote, “When I was growing up we knew no strangers in Ash Grove and we would look after one another. It was not uncommon to see someone walking the neighborhood with pot in hand, calling on someone who was under the weather. The food was delivered and a lengthy visit was in order until duty called. The conversations always fluttered near the subjects of community news and the ups and downs of every day country life.” This has seemed to disappear and no longer is the common custom of society. My grandmother, whom we called mam-ma, goes on to explain that it saddened her to see this becoming a tradition of old. For my grandma, I would like to see this changed. My sister seems to agree as well. It’s important in this day and age to learn from our elders and try and bring the sense of community back to the towns we call home. We should make the effort to know our neighbors and be there for them in times of need. We need to get involved in town events and make sure we carry on the tradition of making a town special, not ordinary, place to live.
We should follow my sister’s lead and step up when needed to continue a tradition so special to our places we call home. What good does it do to look outwardly constantly and not look at what is changing right around you and fixing those things first? So I encourage all who are reading take the so called “pot-in-hand” and deliver where it is needed. Take care of your community, make it special and wish us luck on the parade!