I have a long-time acquaintance in the conservation field named Miriam. Miriam has been a Naturalist with Palo Alto County for about the same amount of time that I have been with Grundy County. Many, many moons ago, we were attending a naturalist workshop and were talking about larger counties and their overall larger conservation board programs. The conversation seemed to have worked around to how the big counties had more "toys" and many times what seemed like more advantages.
But before we left the workshop we were attending, we came to agreement that smaller populated counties had some benefits that larger ones did not. I recall her saying, "I would rather be a big fish in a little bowl as the other way around."
Smaller populated counties and smaller populated towns are blessings. I can't imagine myself having spent my life anywhere but in a little fish bowl so to speak. Miriam's words have stuck with me these many years since. Recently, I had what I will call a fish bowl moment that started just a few weeks ago.
Our conservation board approved the purchase of a sign to place on the lake side of Highway 520 advertising the campground and park, a very large sign. After the meeting one of the members called and made me aware of a pole replacement project that the Grundy County REC was doing north of Grundy Center. Perhaps we could get the poles that we would require from them. A follow-up to this lead put me visiting with Rod. I told him what we were looking for and why. Those poles were spoken for already but he was sure that they could provide what we needed from another project. "Let us know how many you would need and when. And do you need help setting them? We could do that, too." I told him that would be wonderful and that I was sure that we would take advantage of that offer! As we said our good-byes, he added that if we had the sign along they would help us mount it, as well.
Wow. I could hardly believe it. A simple call looking for free or reduced price power poles ended in an offer to haul and set the poles and hang the sign. It doesn't get any better than this, I thought.
But wait a minute. A few days later I received a call. It was Rod asking if I remembered visiting with him from the other day. "I talked to my boss," he started..(Oh, great I thought to myself. Here we go. The offer had been too good to be true. We weren't going to be able to get the poles set or the sign hung or maybe even be able to get the poles. All these things were running madly through my head as he continued on the other end of the phone) "We would like to give you $100 to help with the cost of the sign."
I know that he couldn't see my jaw drop through the phone line but he may well have heard it hit the floor. I told him how much we would appreciate that, too.
The sign was ordered. The sign was received and put together in our shop. On Friday, September 21, the Grundy County REC trucks arrived at the lake and in short order augured the holes, set the poles, and mounted the new sign. They made it look easy.
Here was a local company with a crew largely made up people I have known for a long time doing the county a real service.
I thought to myself as they drove away, "I like little fish bowls, too."