Appalachia Service Project

As expected, first we got the rain, and then the snow started.  It wasn’t so bad here in the City, but when driving up to the Forest City area this morning, I was all the more thankful I have a four wheel drive vehicle.  What makes me nervous when driving on those slushy blacktops, is it being harder keep the wheels from being pulled into it.

Of course when I turned off the blacktop and headed down almost three miles of hilly gravel roads, I could all the more visualize the stories my grandmother used to tell about winters being brutal on the farm, but early Springs about as bad, when trying to drive to town and get supplies when the roads were so muddy that there were times when the wheels would sink in muddy muck almost up to their axles.  If they couldn’t get thru with their model T’s, they’d drive back home and hitch up a team of horses to a buggy or wagon and off they’d go.  If their car would got stuck, they’d once again have to go and get the horses to pull it out.  Perhaps this is one more reason I love horses because they’re always there when needed.

The reason I was out in the hinterland in such weather, is that I’d agreed to drive a dear old friend to an auction that was being held on a farm northwest of Forest City.  By the time we got there, I wasn’t in the best of moods because of how far we had to walk in that driving wet snow.  I couldn’t believe they didn’t cancel that auction, but by the looks of the crowd, there were more people there with money than brains.

We weren’t in attendance very long after seeing how high everything was selling, and what my friend wanted would’ve taken all day before they got to it, so we both decided it best to get back on the road before the weather got any worse.  That long drive up and back gave us some extra time to have a good chat about nearly everything from our weather patterns changing, to all the brick and mortar stores that are closing in our area.  It was mentioned that Amazon now commands over 45% of on-line retail sales in the United States.  At first I questioned it, but then thinking how many of our young seem to be always buying things online, it’s likely true yet very unfortunate.

Thank goodness we made it back to the City without any issues.  The first thing I did notice after dropping off my old friend, was how much less snow we received compared to what they were getting up in the Forest City area.  Irregardless, I was glad we decided to return early, and all the more happy we had time for our long overdue visit.

I decided to bring home those pots of geraniums that I’ve been holding over in the front of my office, but made sure to put them in a sheltered place overnight so they don’t freeze.  Geraniums don’t take kindly to frost, and I certainly don’t want that considering how well they managed to stay alive at my office all winter.  I think I’m going to start asking some of my clients and customers if they want a few to plant in their flower beds because I’m pretty sure I won’t have enough space for them all.

I worked at the office a few hours and then hurried off to my little/big project and worked there until it was time to call it quits.  Once again, I was pleasantly surprised I managed to get as much done as I did, and once it’s finished, I’d say the dirtiest job of that project will be over.  I guess I’m a little different than most because I’d rather get the most tedious, dirty and time consuming things finished first, just so I can look back in admiration as I move forward with the rest of whatever I’m doing.  Perhaps that’s my key for not loosing heart in whatever long project I decide to plug myself into.

About a week ago, a client stopped by and asked if I’d like to buy a ticket for a pig roast dinner that’s being held tomorrow at First United Methodist Church here in Mason City. Tonight’s photo is of that ticket.  I freely agreed to buy one because of where those proceeds are going, which is towards their yearly mission trip they take to poor areas in the Appalachias where they spend a number of days freely helping to upgrade the living environments of poor people with their time, talents and treasures.

Most people here in North Iowa have no clue how many poor people we have living in the United States, and most of them aren’t the type who’ll make public noise about it because most times it’s generational, and long ago accepted as just their stations in life.  The areas most in need are in the coal mining States where jobs are few and opportunities for bettering their lives all the less hopeful.

What internally angers me at times, are all those many able-bodied seniors I see around who spend more time in coffee shops, in front of boob tubes, or up at the casino, rather than actively seeking out organizations like the Appalachia Service Project where they can go and make a lasting difference in the lives of those who’re all the less fortunate than themselves.  I know I may sound wicked when saying, “There are far too many who should be out actively giving back to the world with their own time, talents, and resources, rather than selfishly sitting around waiting for God, and all the while considering the “legacies” they’re leaving to their unworthy children, more than enough to get themselves thru those Pearly Gates.”  Go figure!

Tonight’s one-liner is:  Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.

Joe Chodur

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