October 2022 Newsletter Article
I took a trip to my hometown recently to visit my family and to catch up with some old friends. For those who know me, or have read some of my past articles, you may already know I come from a small town, like many who now call Grimes their home. It was a short weekend trip and there was nothing particularly exciting happening...but that doesn’t mean nothing was happening.
You see, it was a typical weekend in a small community. A handful of regulars would gather at the bowling alley, which also serves as a café in the morning, a lunch spot over the noon hour, and a watering hole in the evenings. There was a big regional garage sale taking place, so the town had some visitors looking to find a few bargains and hopefully stumble across a rare treasure. The high school football team was on the road, so a few people headed out of town to cheer on the boys in what proved to be a losing effort.
As the weekend evolved, a few people got together to watch their college football team and trade gossip, share their opinions on politics, and talk about the progress on the local harvest. The football team that most were rooting for won on that evening, which put people in a generally good mood. Then Sunday morning rolled around and while some slept in, others rolled out and gathered at one of the many area churches for Sunday brunch/lunch, and then watch even more football. Before I knew it, the weekend had ended and I was on my way back to beautiful Grimes, Iowa, where I now proudly call home.
I share all of this because the area where I grew up is on a different path than we are experiencing here in Grimes. By contrast, Grimes is a much larger and much more economically vibrant area. Like many small rural communities, the next Census will report a smaller population in my hometown than the one ten years prior. Whereas Grimes will undoubtedly be substantially larger.
Despite all of that, there is an important lesson that we can learn from my hometown, and the hundreds of other communities that residents of Grimes hail from. If we hope to get the most out of our time here; if we want to build the type of businesses that last for generations vs. a few years; if we want to create relationships that will sustain us not only in the good times but also in the valleys that everyone faces in life, we must make a concerted effort to show up.
Meet each other at the park, at local school events, in local businesses, at town festivals, in area churches, at the local service organization meetings, so on, so forth. If you’re a part of the Chamber, come to the Ribbon Cutting celebrations, the Groundbreaking ceremonies, the Lunch & Learn events, serve on a committee. Don’t just exist in Grimes…LIVE in Grimes. You’ll be better off for it and those around you will be better off too. Every person, business, and organization can be a blessing to those around us, but the first step is being present. Fight through the uncomfortable feeling of getting started and show up…for your community and for yourself.