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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:   Looking up!

© Another Day in the Country

I looked up at the calendar on the wall and realized October was over. It was already Nov. 2 when I finally turned over the next page on my Mary Englebright calendar. 

I love getting her inspirational 12-month calendar every year with her whimsical artwork. I love the message every month.

For November, she chose a long table set out in a yard with people seated up and down both sides.  In the midst of swirling fall colors the message read, “It’s better to build a longer table than a taller fence.”

With Mary’s inimitable imagination, there was everyone and everything at that table from a grandma to a gnome, along with an assortment of animals and people of all ages and races. What a delightful picture! What an appropriate message, but they all are, every month of the year! I’m inspired.

Jess has had Nov. 2 marked on the calendar for months already. My sister has been working nonstop on the committee that pulls off the annual Marion County Health Fair. She loves planning events and always goes that extra mile to make sure the occasion looks and feels spectacular.

And talk about setting a long table. There were actually thirty tables at this community event. Every table represented a vendor (business) in Marion County that cares about your health. Now that’s something to celebrate right there.

Everyone is invited to the table, too.  It’s a great morning adventure and something for every generation, from the oldest to the youngest.  How many times can you say that?

“This year’s fair was the best ever!” Jess declared when she pulled up to my porch with a bunch of props she’d used.

An event like the Health Fair is a three-fold job.  First you have to get people enthused — both vendors and participants. Second, you have to get all kinds of props and displays set up so that it looks like an exciting place to be, and when it’s all over, you get to tear it all down and take things back to wherever they came from.

“As we were cleaning up after the fair, I saw an older gentleman exercising by walking the track at the Aquatic Center where the Fair was,” Jess said. “He saw me lugging props and asked if there was something he could carry. I pointed to the Christmas trees that we’d used to create light and interest around the Health Department table, and he said he’d pick up a tree every time he went around the track, and carry it to the door for me. Wow! That was such a big help! By that point I was just dragging!”

Here was a person simply exercising — he could have easily just walked on by. I don’t even know if he came to the party, but he saw something that he could do to help. It wasn’t a big thing. It didn’t take him far out of his way. It wasn’t all that heavy. He just saw a need and with a smile, he offered help.

When Jess commented to him about how rare it is these days that someone offers assistance, he smiled wryly, and said, “Oh, I think we’re all just looking down at our phones.”

I agree! Too much looking down, whether we’re looking down at the phone or the path ahead. We look down at the restaurant and we look down at the grocery store while we’re shopping. We look down as we walk along the street. All the kids in the back seat of the car are usually looking down at something rather than looking out the window.

If we’re really serious about making America, or Marion County, or Ramona, a great place to live, maybe we need to look up more often. Be brave! Make eye contact, smile, and say “hi” as we pass by. With these simple friendly gestures, we create a community. Once we’re engaged (as in paying attention to) we have a chance to ask, “Anything I can do?”

“Hat’s off!” to the folk who planned the Marion County Health Fair! “Thank you,” to all the vendors who came, encouraging us to be healthier. Maybe you missed all the fun this year, but while you’re thinking about it grab a pencil and mark that first Saturday in November for 2020 on your calendar and plan to be present at that very loooong community table!  

If you don’t have a calendar for next year, yet, then OK, you can put it on your phone.  Just don’t forget to look up, on another day in the country!

Last modified Nov. 7, 2019

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