During my grueling eleven minute commute from my retreat on the hill to town this week, I noticed I was getting uncomfortably warm. Then I realized that I had the heat on full with the temperature at 52 degrees. A feller can’t be sure about what weather will face him of a morning. It’s hard to keep up with this random weather, so it must be time for a random Friday roundup of some of the happenings around Owen County.
Sorry, I missed you last week. Influenza A closed down our household with such sudden nastiness that I found myself both without a column and without the energy to write one. My feeble attempts at writing a message all started sounding like a note a dying man would scrawl out with his last strength. Something like, “Alas, the end is near now. I hoped to accomplish so much more.” To your great benefit, dear readers, I gave that up and went to bed.
Toss a coin in a fountain and make a wish. If you're thinking about your future and what would happen should you die, you might say: "I wish that my brother, Tom, would handle my estate."
Or perhaps, "I wish Aunt Etta would take care of my daughter." Or maybe, "I wish that any estate taxes would be kept to a minimum." You might also say, "I wish to give a portion of my estate to the Owen County Community Foundation and other charities I care about."
The old English proverb “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” came to mind as I was planning this weekly message. Only, I’m thinking of the phrase in a more practical way. Where there’s a will, there’s a document to tell the courts, the public, and your family how you want your final estate to be dealt with.
The season of giving is upon us, but for your Owen County Community Foundation, every season is giving season. The hundreds of people who make donations to this local organization add to the permanent funds that your OCCF then invests to produce the income that is given back to the community in the form of grants or scholarships. Our investment in our Owen County communities through our grant and scholarship payouts is $186,561 in total this year.
This year, it began when I casually mentioned to Ms. Taylor’s kindergarten class on a recent snowy morning that I’d accidentally left a new purchase out in the snow the night before. When I told them that what I left out was my family’s Christmas Tree, twenty little faces instantly glowed with excitement at the mere mention of Christmas. When those bright eyes looked up at me, I knew it was beginning.
For many years now, I’ve used this space at this time of year to extol the virtues of buttery mashed potatoes, fun family gatherings, parades, and other warm memories of Thanksgiving. Those memories are still there and I’ll always try to access them for the comfort they provide. I’ve also been alive long enough to know that when our annual celebration of giving thanks comes around, pleasant memories sometimes take a back seat to the pain and hurt of loss and the difficulties of life’s challenges.
John and Mary Doe have been giving to their Owen County Community Foundation for years. Oh! You don’t know John Doe and his wife Mary? They’ve been around Owen County for years. In fact, we've been able to get to know them well and look forward to their annual generosity. We've become true partners in this great enterprise. Consequently, when they are gone, the absence of their giving will be felt.
This Sunday, Veteran’s Day will arrive on the heels of our Election Day, a day that with higher voter turnout saw some renewed commitment to participate in one of our key democratic responsibilities as citizens. The close proximity on the calendar seems appropriate since the very act of voting, or the freedom to carry out that act, is present because of the sacrifices of those who have fought for those freedoms.
My earliest memories and the source of my affinity for Dia de los Muertos, or in English – Day of the Dead, centered on a childhood trip to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. My dad hooked our Mallard travel trailer to the family station wagon and drove our clan of nine from Indiana all the way to Mexico City and back. Along our loop through our neighbor to the south, we were able to enjoy landscapes from desert to mountain forests, scenes and people both city and rural. That trip is a parenting feat that still boggles my mind.
I don’t know what’s more scary in this haunted Halloween season, the witches, ghosts, and goblins that will soon roam our streets or the political ads leading up to the election in a couple of weeks. Either way with the variety of frightening things going on, it’s time for a scary edition of the weekly random roundup.
On one of the bright, crisp autumn mornings this week offered up, I headed out through the hills and dales of Lafayette Township to Patricksburg Elementary School for my beloved monthly “chore” of reading a book to Ms. Taylor’s kindergarten class. The children’s faces matched the sunny morning. After all, they got to step away from their desks and sit down to hear a story. What a way to start your day – for me and the students.
While summer held on with a vengeance here in Owen County last weekend, I headed up to Charlevoix, Michigan to find high temps only in the fifties and a cloudy, drizzly weekend. The dreary weather was an appropriate backdrop for a funeral which sadly is what prompted me to travel to Michigan with my three brothers and one of my sisters.
Your Owen County Community Foundation threw another golf party last week. In fact, it was our 16th annual SMV Realty – Jim Fulford Golf Open. These days we call our event the JFO. It’s become a major tradition at the organization Jim Fulford helped to build. In our very first golf outing way back in 2003, we raised funds to establish the Jim and Wilma Fulford Scholarship Fund in honor of our first OCCF executive director, WWII veteran, educator, first Owen Valley principal, and Sagamore of the Wabash. Jim was a very special man in our state, our community, and our organization.
With our second annual Water Day Celebration taking place tomorrow, Saturday 10 to 2 in Cooper Commons, our community will be invited to reconnect with our White River and all the creeks, streams, rivulets, and rills that make up its watershed. This seemed a good time for your Owen County Community Foundation to reconnect with our signature project, the MYPath Trail System. So we took a good part of our monthly board of directors meeting this week to revisit MYPath.