As most of you know, I live in St. Louis, in the heart of the country. Ah, the Midwest. While too many people view it as "flyover country," our area truly has some wonders. The Gateway Arch. The St. Louis Zoo (still free!). The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. lol
We also have mighty unpredictable weather. On New Year's Eve, a tornado struck. Yes, I said New Year's Eve. While we expect and are pretty much used to storms during our tornado seasons, that one took us all by surprise. Trust me, a power outage in the winter is not fun.
Storms continued to plague us throughout the spring. Tornadoes, rain, hail, rain, floods, and more tornadoes. The fun doesn't seem to stop. I'm sure you've heard of the tragedy across the state in Joplin, MO. It's hit every news source.
I thought my favorite Joplin story of recovery would be the circus elephant helping with cleanup. See, instead of leaving town after the storm cancelled the show, the Picadilly Circus stayed~~and helped out. You can watch the video on YouTube; the story was carried on the major network news shows.
Which brings me to the title of this post. The greatest asset in America. No, not elephants, lol. People. While we sometimes worry about the youth of today (it's our turn, since we are the youth our parents worried about, right?), and we shake our heads at government officials and CEOs, and we grit our teeth at identity theft stories, especially against our senior citizens, I have to argue that our people are our greatest asset.
All the national news stations carried the story of this circus staying behind and helping out. Sure, the elephant made it a cute and unique video. But I won't believe the national networks would have carried the story if they didn't think people would watch. People watch because they care. It's why a small town dentist loaded up his truck and went to Joplin. It's why people hit the special code on their cell phones to donate money to the Red Cross. It's why lemonade stands are set up, bake sales organized and blood drives well-attended.
Today is a special sale day. When you buy at a certain major book-writing resource site and its 19 sister companies, the proceeds go to Flood Relief along the Mississippi Delta. Visit them. Buy lemonade from the kid down the street or a brownie at the bake sale. Those in the flood areas or devastated by tornadoes are going to need our help for a long time. I believe in the goodness of American people. I know we'll come through.
Oh, and my favorite news story coming out of Joplin? A high school athlete whose family could no longer live in their home found the strength to compete in the state championship. Even though her family couldn't come watch her. Even though her school had been destroyed. Even though her coach couldn't accompany her because she's a first-responder. So who went with her? A coach from a nearby town stepped up. That's what Americans do. The girl tied her all-time personal best record. Because that's what Americans do~~our personal best. Her event is the pole vault. I know it's corny of me, but I could almost see the caption as she cleared the bar: Joplin Rises Again.
She didn't take first place. But she won that day.
The Marriage Solution, May 2011