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We gave our best

© Another Day in the Country

In the scheme of things, that’s all you can do — give your best. And that’s what we did in Ramona. We’re trying to save our post office and maybe, just maybe, our petitions and letters, our plea for reconsideration, our cry for help, our best effort, will actually make a difference.

These “meetings” that the Postal Service orchestrates seem to be a necessary formality, required by the head office. The postal employees who chaired the meeting and took notes were just “doing their job” and “not the ones to make decisions” and “I don’t know the answer,” was the most often used rejoinder.

After the fact, we were frustrated but hopeful. Frustrated by wondering if our cry for help would be heard by people who could actually make a decision, and hopeful because we gave our best! We’d done everything we knew to do. And now we wait to see what happens.

I was proud of the people who came to that meeting. I felt part of a brave community who were not only standing up and fighting (in its most positive sense) for the town of Ramona but also voicing appreciation for the service given to all of us by our post master.

Service, by whomever, is often a thankless job. While we appreciate service, we often take it for granted — until it is gone. So, here’s to all the people who offer service! Thank you! Whether you’re the person who carries out groceries, the guy at Cardie’s who offers to fill my tank, Betty who walks the streets and picks up trash, the gal who puts out treats at Butler of Marion, the list goes on. I’m blessed daily but all of you who serve your neighborhood — sometimes just by planting flowers, often just by setting a good example.

Every once in a while, I get away to experience what life is like in another part of the country. Last week I was in Sun Valley, Idaho, a particularly privileged part of the world. I was visiting friends and attending a jazz festival.

The mountains of Idaho are beautiful in the fall with aspens turning every shade from pale yellow to bright orange — a glorious sight. I lived for awhile in mountains like these and I gave it my best to take it all in again. My camera was clicking nonstop.

The jazz festival was chock-full of talented musicians, who, by the way, gave it their best and I did the same — clapping and stomping and calling out enthusiastically to show my appreciation. It was wonderful music including a Sunday service with jazz in the sanctuary of a Presbyterian church. Coming from a very conservative religious upbringing, it was a wee bit shocking to contemplate jazz in church … really? It was great! I was blown away by a rendition of “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” Every note had soul in it as they gave it their best.

One of the groups I listened to had invited a comedian to join the musicians for a set. I laughed and clapped at his patter, was royally entertained, and surprisingly wished I had a pencil to take notes. He was there to entertain; but in the midst of it all, he wanted to teach as well as to amuse. He told a story about listening to his wife give instruction to their little boys.

“Every morning she reminded them,” he said, “to remember that everything they did or did not do, every choice they made during the day, effected someone else.”

He went on telling funny antidotes, but my mind was fixed on that statement. Sure, I’d heard it before but I believe we all need to be reminded of our influence and to hold the realization that every single one of our actions effects the world.

As parents, we need to tell our kids this over and over again. As teachers, let’s remind our classroom of their influence. As neighbors, let’s live so that our every deed is a positive one for ourselves and our community.

Whether or not we save Ramona’s post office, or the town, whether we stood up and made a difference or didn’t, we gave it our best. And our best, in whatever way we can, is guaranteed to make it a better day in the country!

Last modified Oct. 27, 2011

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