Our region may forever be in need of one service or another. It seems we’re always taking a trip to Eau Claire, or Duluth, or Rhinelander or Rice Lake or wherever that place is near you with more people and more choices. And we like to be able to come home to our little quiet corner of the north, don’t we? Sometimes?
I’ve watched my little town of Amery grapple with growth, and I’ve seen it across the northland too. We want the change, just as long as everything stays the same, right? Maybe you don’t feel that way, but I know many people do.
I’m guilty of being one of those “somebody should put in a….” kind of people who grumble, “I wish we had a ____in town.” Because, well, sometimes I do!
We have a lot of those opportunities in Amery. This community of almost 3,000 only recently got its first 24-hour gas station, for example, thanks to Kwik Trip. What a game changer that has been. COVID inspired one of our local restaurants to add a delivery service, and let me tell you, being able to get a chimichanga delivered to my door at 7 p.m. has changed my life. A few larger communities are even getting a taste of grocery delivery services. Now that’s just crazy talk.
So, why DOESN’T somebody put in a hotel, for example? Or a pool? Or install more broadband services? Better yet, “They should build a _____.” It makes me wonder who “they” is, as if we had some magic fairy that went around sprinkling Starbucks and Target stores on communities in need. The answer to each question reminds me of a poem by Charles Osgood.
“The Responsibility Poem”
There was a most important job that needed to be done,
And no reason not to do it, there was absolutely none.
But in vital matters such as this, the thing you have to ask
Is who exactly will it be who’ll carry out the task?
Anybody could have told you that Everybody knew
That this was something Somebody would surely have to do.
Nobody was unwilling; Anybody had the ability.
But Nobody believed that it was their responsibility.
It seemed to be a job that Anybody could have done,
If Anybody thought he was supposed to be the one.
But since Everybody recognized that Anybody could,
Everybody took for granted that Somebody would.
But Nobody told Anybody that we are aware of,
That he would be in charge of seeing it was taken care of.
And Nobody took it on himself to follow through,
And do what Everybody thought that Somebody would do.
When what Everybody needed so did not get done at all,
Everybody was complaining that Somebody dropped the ball.
Anybody then could see it was an awful crying shame,
And Everybody looked around for Somebody to blame.
Somebody should have done the job
And Everybody should have,
But in the end Nobody did
What Anybody could have.
I can’t speak for every community, because aside from money, there are often more complex reasons why projects aren’t moving forward. Realistically, it’s not likely you’ll ever see a Macy’s store north of Green Bay. But sometimes it’s just because “Nobody” has stepped up to make it happen. Paying attention to the workings of local government has helped me understand more of that, and I would encourage you to get involved in your area if you’re able. You too could become one of the “theys.”
Maybe next time you hear someone ask “Why they don’t put an Olive Garden in town,” you should respond with “That’s a great idea! Are you going to open one?”
Just for fun, I’ve added my own stanza to Osgood’s poem:
All that we see around us began simply in someone’s dreams.
They said Everybody’s busy, and Nobody has the means.
Far-fetched thoughts become plans when Somebody starts to see them through.
Maybe that thought just needs a regular Somebody, like you.
Well look at that, I’m a poet and didn’t know it. 😉 Feel free to send me your thoughts, or let me know about what’s happening in your neck of the woods. I’d love to hear from you! Email Jessica@northinfocus.com.