Daring to be thankful

Draw it, write it, photograph it, just get it to the library.

One evening this summer I was scrolling through a firecracker social media battle, set off by some unpopular decision made by City Council. Then one of the perpetrators dropped in a cool dose of wisdom in seven words. 

“Turn off the news and look around,” is what he typed. 

That pearl was promptly buried by more crossfire commentary, but I obeyed. 

Here’s what I saw in 2020 when I shut off the national news for a moment: 

I saw volunteers and donors still filling food carts at the local Ministry Center. 

And I saw school leaders like Steve Klotz working to keep children fed. 

I saw Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee workers clocking in to keep the rest of us clean and fed. All while leading the way in tactfully enforcing new and shifting public safety measures.

Fast food restaurant workers getting some long overdue respect. 

Thanks to our local newspapers, I read about City leaders living up to the freedom and responsibility to make decisions at the local level. And taking the heat that comes with that.

I saw Maryville Area Chamber Director Lily White consistently shoring up local business efforts both in person and online. 

I read about peaceful anti-racist demonstration both supported and protected by local law enforcement officers.

Our local Kawasaki factory sending a pizza lunch to county health department workers.

Health Department workers delivering medicine and providing critical personal support for quarantined residents.

Tom and Melissa Middleswart sending candygrams to cheer frontline workers.

A First Baptist Church parade celebrating Alyce Clark’s 100th birthday. And local newspapers staff members like Skye Pournazari doing the legwork to describe and record such a countercultural event.

People with different political opinions and different skin colors making extra efforts to worship their God on Sundays, both 6 feet apart and via live video stream.

That’s just what I saw. What did you see in Nodaway County this year that makes you thankful? 

Maryville Public Library invites Nodaway County adults and youth ages 10 and up to share their 2020 story in the theme of thanksgiving with a drawing, a short essay, story, poem, or a photo and brief description. 

Finished submissions must fit within one of the library’s 17″X11″ frames for display in the library, and may be shared by the library online and in a published book. 17″x11″ cardstock is available for local artists at the library desk (1 per applicant). 

Submissions are due Wednesday, November 18, 2020 by 6 p.m. to the library desk or via email at thankful@maryvillepubliclibrary.org

All submissions must be accompanied by the artist or writer’s name, age, and town of residence. Contact information should be included too if the applicant wishes to retrieve their submission after January 1, 2021.

Essays, stories, or poems submitted via email should be 750 words or less and may be edited for length or clarity. 

Submissions chosen for display or publishing will be selected based on several criteria, including specificity. Applicants are encouraged to create submissions that capture details of everyday life in Nodaway County during 2020. 

Stephanie Patterson is the Maryville Public Library Director