I attended the parent-directed Montezuma High School Prom Saturday night. While taking a break from picture taking, I was seated on a chair in the Memorial Hall kitchen sipping on a bottle of water and talking to one of the parents.
“If you didn’t watch the news, you’d never know anything was going on,” he said, referring to COVID-19 Pandemic, as the kids were having a good time.
You know, he’s right.
I’m not making light of COVID-19 or telling folks to throw caution to the wind. What I am saying is we need to live our lives.
When I turn on the news, its story after story of destruction, marches, riots, political gridlock and upheaval. And fear, lots of fear of things we don’t know or can’t control. And of course there are daily recommendations from the CDC on how to stay safe in the fight against COVID-19. Do this, do that, they say. It’s making people crazy.
My recommendation - turn the news off and spend your day being thankful for your life, your family, your friends and your many blessings. Pray for safety, pray for our country and get up each day and do something good for someone else.
One simple act of kindness might be what a neighbor, friend or stranger needs.
We all have dreams, go chase yours. Maybe you want to start a business, go on a mission trip, start a scholarship, get a new job, serve on board, take a trip or raise money for a community cause. It doesn’t cost anything to make a call, ask a question or even take a step. You can do it! I believe in you!
It was 20 years ago on July 20 that I rolled into Montezuma after being hired as editor of the Montezuma Republican.
I had just spent 2.7 years in North English at the Record newspaper when I learned of the opening in Montezuma.
I enjoyed my time in North English and developed many good friendships. What a great experience.
When I arrived in North English, I didn’t let any grass grow under my feet. I was fresh out of college and ready to go. I got out of the office, rode in farmer’s pickup trucks and once drove a combine. I climbed on silos to take photos and once drove on icy roads to take photos of an overturned semi filled with hogs roaming about the highway.
I covered town celebrations and many school events. I even once covered a murder. That was quite an experience for a young journalist.
I learned so much about life and people. I also ate lots of good meals at town folks homes when I stopped to visit. There used to be a joke at the home office in Marengo about me setting up interviews at supper time so I could eat while I was there. There’s more truth to that than not.
I’ll never forget my time or the fine folks of North English. I always look forward to returning and enjoying a meal at the EV Malt Shop.
When I arrived in Montezuma, I was looking for a new adventure in the world of community journalism. I ended up getting a lot more than that – a wife!
I’ve covered lots of Poweshiek County Fairs and photographed hundreds of young people and their prize-winning cows and pigs in the years since. I’ve attended proms, graduations, community celebrations and ballgames on the local and state level. I’ve interviewed farmers and politicians, wrote stories about Montezuma sports history, former coaches and I have done day in the life projects.
I’ve earned several local and state honors along the way. But the best honor I have had is opportunity!
Less than a year before moving to Iowa, I once drove through Montezuma on Highway 63. I stopped on the south edge of town to get a Pepsi out of my cooler before continuing south. At the time, I had no idea that I would call Montezuma home in a few years or met my wife, buy a house, publish books, co-direct a writing conference and enjoy time with family and the many friends I have made along the way. I’m so thankful to God for His many blessings!
I’m excited for the future and what life has to offer. Don’t let COVID-19 stop you from living and dreaming folks!
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.