At Your Service: Dec. 3, 2008

There are many powerful words in the English language – words that seem to radiate with a power of their own to be self-fulfilling. One of these is the four-letter word: can’t. When you believe that something can’t be done, you will always be right that it can’t be done by you.
It has been at least three years since my friend Lauren Quarltere first mentioned to me the idea of creating a shop-local campaign for the holidays. We bounced the idea around and talked it over with others in the hopes that someone else would take the ball and run with it. No one did. So, last year we decided to just do it ourselves and created the Holiday Treasure Express.
In the few short weeks available to put together that first campaign, we heard from many that “it can’t be done.” There were time constraints and deadlines for the production of materials that had already passed when we began. Businesses had already planned their holiday marketing strategies and spent the money they had budgeted.
Others heard the determination in our voices, caught sight of the possibility for a fun way to drive traffic to local businesses. Joan Lawrence-Bauer and the MARK Group provided financial and administrative support. Lisa Tait of Silvertop Graphics created our basic design elements and pushed production deadlines to get things printed in time. Sixty area businesses became destinations or sponsors. Customers took their passports and got them stamped and some won prizes. In the end everyone agreed that we had created a success.
On the day that we held the drawing for the prizes, we began planning for this year’s campaign and added the concept of a parade down Main Street, Margaretville to kick it off with a bang. Mayor Bill Stanton marked the village calendar to save the day and this year’s event had begun. Michael Mathis jumped on board to help plan the parade and a nucleus was formed.
On Saturday, as I stood in the pavilion waiting for the parade to arrive, I had no idea whether any one had actually come to see it pass along Main Street. Still, I was already thrilled that so many had taken the time and energy to put together their individual floats. As the pavilion flooded with people, I too was caught in the wash of holiday excitement that flowed over the crowd.
There are millions of details that went into making it happen, but what fired the engine was an unwillingness to succumb to the power of can’t. While we hit some bumps along the way, it seemed that each day brought new people who joined us in saying we can do this.
We are publishing an ad that thanks those who played an active role in making the parade happen. If we omitted a name, accept my apologies, it was certainly unintentional. Saturday’s events were born of the ideas of two people, but like the raising of a child, it took a village (actually those from several villages) to give it life. The value of the contribution of each individual was/is monumental. Each idea fed another one and grew into more. The team of people who did the planning was remarkable in their ability and willingness to take responsibility and be held accountable for some aspect of the event.
Like a parent standing at graduation, I am proud of the final outcome. And like that parent I know that the credit for success belongs to everyone who contributed along the way.
Perhaps this could have happened anywhere, but it did happen here. In this community, where many have been hard hit by the “economy” and others already struggled, we celebrated one another with a flourish. It was perfect for me that it was in the spirit of Thanksgiving that we gathered and my reward was in the eyes of the children.
Yes, here in this very special corner of the world we can do anything we put our minds to and support our community and each other in joyous ways.