the season to give
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
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.