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Rural Missouri Magazine

The last deadline

Frank Stork
by Frank Stork

This morning I was reading the first column I ever wrote for our Rural Missouri magazine. When I totaled the number published, I found this column to be No. 243.

Heather Berry helps me prepare this piece each month. Last week I asked her to find the first column I ever wrote. I wanted to read it before writing this last column. My thinking was that I might be inspired and, as a result, words would flow through my fingers to create a “word bridge” between my first and last piece.

Of all the topics I thought of to include in this last piece, the most important became the need to thank our readers for allowing me to come into your home each month through this publication. I have always been very proud to be associated with Rural Missouri magazine. It is a joy to work with the Rural Missouri staff as they continue their never-ending quest for excellence. Also, it has been most gratifying to see them receive dozens of well-deserved journalism awards for their good work.

Also important is my desire to thank our readers for the many letters and e-mails I received over the years. While not all of the feedback was complimentary, I appreciated all of them and did my best to answer each one. A college professor advised: “If a writer begins with the notion that readers will interpret their written word in many different ways, the certain criticism of what one writes can be received in a positive and constructive way.” I thought about the professor every time I sat down at my typewriter or read a letter that was critical of what I had written.

What I think about every day is how lucky I am to work with rural people through the electric cooperative program. Everyone connected to our consumer-owned electric systems have always been deeply committed to community betterment in its broadest sense. Each new generation of rural leaders arrives determined to leave things in better shape than they found them. How lucky one is to work with positive thinkers with the self-assurance to try the un-tried. To work with people who have the courage to choose what Robert Frost referred to as “the road less traveled.”

It seems the inspiration I was looking for to build a bridge from my first column will not come to me today. And once again the editor is calling on the telephone saying my deadline has arrived. I better close quickly with a sincere thank you, a simple goodbye and my very best wishes to every one of our special readers

Stork was executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and a member of Three Rivers Electric Co-op. He retires this month after 40 years in the rural electric program.

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