Yesterday I hinted that my spouse, Lee, was going to be surprised last night. We were hanging out watching television, when we got a phone call from the folks at our company who were attending the annual Cameron Chamber of Commerce Banquet. We put on speaker, and enjoyed our friend Melanie announce some nice awards. Then, she started in on the Chamber Member of the Year biography. I said, “Wow, that’s well written” and at that point, Lee realized it was him.
It was nice to see him recognized for all the stuff he’s been doing. I know it’s really helped understaffed Melanie! Both Lee and Kathleen have stepped up to serve on committees and do work to improve little old Cameron. I’m glad Melanie has such great other volunteers, too. And somehow, this helps us feel part of a larger community.
It must have been a fun night, because Kathleen won a lot of wine at the raffle. We can use that, if I ever stop pivoting and make it home.
I’m proud of Lee for lots of reasons other than his civic pride. For one thing, we’ve been together practically 24/7 for two weeks and we’re really getting along fine! Now, that’s a sign of a stable marriage!
We’ve each been compromising, dealing with what comes up, and enjoying whatever we do. It’s taken us a while to get vacations down, because neither of us has really done many, but I’m no longer rushing him to get out in the morning, and he’s not been forced to go shopping, so he’s happier.
I get to go on boat rides and nature walks. So I’m happy! Plus the beach view really helps. I’ve had a nice week off.
Time to read and knit and look at waves. I’m lucky in so many ways to be stranded at a lovely place with a fine human.
Last night I went to the Cameron Chamber of Commerce banquet. When you are in a bunch of organizations, as well as more than one business, that’s a member, you sort of feel like you have to go. Since Hearts Homes and Hands was a Gold Sponsor, we got to sit up at the front of the place, which I’d never done before (never having spent the money to sponsor anything). At the event, I learned lots of ways to get things going and make small towns better. The first one was the most fun.
Lee, Kathleen, Chris and I were the HHH representatives, but we invited two of my Milam Touch of Love Board members to come, as well (wish we could have invited them all). It was nice to bring Jean Schara and Mark McKibben along with us for a fancy meal and some beverages. (Once again, though, there was nothing for non-drinkers in the wine and cheese time before the meal.)
At the end of the evening, the Chamber gives out awards to citizens and groups. After the big awards, they give out Excellence Awards to groups or people who didn’t quite make the cut, or aren’t in the in-group of Cameron movers and shakers, which is who usually gets things (not complaining, just noticing). In fact, Lee won one of these last year for our work renovating houses and buildings in the community.
It was really great, then, to see the look on Mark’s face when it was announced that Milam Touch of Love received an award for the work we have done for animals in the area. Jean had a clue something was up, because I’d told her it would really be a good idea to reschedule her Facebook Live event for her essential oil business. Mark just showed up for the food and friendship, but hooray! We were recognized. Both Jean and Mark have spent SO much time, effort and money for the group. It was great to have them join me.
ALL the volunteers and donors for MTOL are part of the recognition, though, because, as with all nonprofits, it takes a lot of work to succeed. I am really proud of them.
Remind Them It Doesn’t Suck
I have to admire Judge Young, who has been personally dragging the county into modernity by courting businesses and proposing things that disrupt the status quo. He spoke for “two minutes” at the banquet, and reminded everyone how much good has happened in the past couple of years.
He’s not kidding. All sorts of solar power companies are moving in, and I can’t complain about that. We in Milam County are also some sort of bitcoin mining capital of the country, and wile I’m not the biggest fan of that sort of thing, it does bring in jobs. And while a lot of people complain about moving the city offices to the former hospital in town, it WILL provide opportunities for new businesses to come in and make downtown Cameron an actual destination.
I hope he perked up a few people…
Bring in a Motivational Speaker
Another way to perk up a town like Cameron is to get the movers and shakers to think differently. So, this year, Melanie Reed brought in a young woman who has worked with small towns throughout Texas to improve their images and such.
Sarah O’Brien had actually done her homework, and presented a talk that wasn’t just ideas, but had concrete suggestions. She’d taken a tour of the town a few weeks ago (including the Pope Residence – so THAT was the lady who Melanie dragged through our construction zone).
One thing she said, in a talk about Lee’s favorite topic of mindset, just geared toward small town leaders, was that to get people to be positive about Cameron, we have to be positive. I saw myself and my blog about potholes in that one! Oops.
You do hear a lot of folks around here saying how hard it is to get good people to work for you, how the poverty mindset has made the citizens unmotivated to do better, etc. I see how being more positive might very well rub off! I’m going to make an effort to portray Cameron more positively and to continue to work to make it a place where people enjoy living.
Hey, at least I’ve helped increase the population by about ten people at the moment, some of whom are eating LOTS of donuts (the construction guys) and all of whom are buying things here! Thanks to Canova, Martha, Mike, Kathleen, Chris, Jim, Nicole, and Easton for saying yes to Cameron, even if you aren’t all here forever.
It’s fun being part of a small town trying to re-invent itself. No one gives a flip about me in the leadership of Austin, and that anonymity is nice, but it’s also nice to feel heard here in Cameron. I say YES!
This whole unpacking of boxes in the garage and general removing unnecessary stuff from my house thing is not becoming easier for me. However, I am still doing it! Yes! And that’s why I honestly think someone should give me a gold star or something. So, I made myself an award on Bitmoji. I’m very proud of this award.
What keeps me going?
Certainly the lifting of heavy boxes of books and empty CD cases (Lee’s) is not a motivating factor. The heat isn’t helping (though it isn’t bad in the garage). Yeah, having more space in the garage is nice, but the real thrill is…