Life in a small town
October 15, 2016, Life in a Small Town
There are times when living in a small town is the greatest thing since sliced bread – and of course there are times when it’s not. Need 500 cookies for the Chamber of Commerce bake sale. No problem. Understand this, nobody would embarrass themselves by going to the grocery store to buy them. They bake them, and a few cakes, pies, and loaves of bread, just in case 500 cookies aren’t enough. Having actually served as a Cake Tasting Judge at the county fair, I can state from experience these baked treats are wonderful.
These ladies, who spent literally hours baking, for the most part work outside the home. They have families, volunteered at the schools (things like team mom and room mother), and serve on community boards like the “Fair Committee” or the “Chamber Banquet Committee”. These same ladies are right there with everyone else cheering at the Friday night football game.
In a small town everybody who offers to help is invited to participate and positions rotate. So eventually it was my turn to be president of the local Chamber of Commerce. Not growing up in a small town (Chicago is definitely not a small town), I felt it was my duty as chamber president to thank this team of women who made our bake sale a huge success.
Problem was I could name names but I had no specific names to give. You see I went to lady 1 and said, “On behalf of the Chamber I would like to thank you and present you with a chamber certificate of gratitude at our next meeting.” Lady 1 smiled and said, “I didn’t do anything. It was all lady 2”. So off I go to find Lady 2 with the same words of thanks. Lady 2 smiled and said, “I didn’t do anything. It was Lady 3." Are you starting to get the picture?
I tried to talk all 5 ladies into to being recognized as a team – result zero. None of them would admit to doing anything. I suspect the people who ate all 500 cookies, plus the cakes, pies, and loaves of bread knew they didn’t come the Sara Lee’s kitchen and yet nobody ever said anything. By the way, if you think this kind of lifestyle is limited to the ladies, just try to find the guys who were responsible for taking down the old dying tree in the lot by the school yard. The upside of this is the money the chamber saved on certificates.
At first I tried to figure this kind of attitude out. Finally it dawned on me (sometimes I just make my life harder than it needs to be) - reality was these folks simply saw a job that needed to be done, stepped up and did it. In that small town accepting credit for helping someone out just didn’t make sense.
Moral - When they deliver the cookies - just say thank you.