In this season of being grateful for all that we have, some thoughts by ESLC’s Community Revitalization Project Manager Darius Johnson following a recent visit with the St. Michaels Rotary Club seemed like the perfect words to share. You see, much of the work that ESLC staff performs would fall under the ‘behind the scenes’ category, as the majority of the public don’t necessarily see or hear about it, yet are positively affected. Staff meet regularly with Eastern Shore citizens, interest groups, and local leaders – part of our mission to help provide insightful information regarding town planning, preservation, and climate adaptation work that we are continually engaged in. Along with ESLC Agricultural Specialist (and local farmer) Carol Bean, we are reminded of the little things we have to be thankful for on the Eastern Shore.
Yesterday, one of my colleagues and I presented on ESLC’s Center for Towns projects to the St. Michael’s Rotary Club. Before the presentation, the club went through a series of updates including their individual donations of “Happy Dollars.”
I learned that at this time, a member raises his or her dollar and donates it in honor of something that makes them happy.
One woman gave a dollar because her grandson got a job at Target, to which I heard a few whispers of “That’s a good job.”
Several gave a dollar because they were happy with the success of the Easton Waterfowl Festival this past weekend—which was pretty fun on the Friday that I checked it out.
But then someone said they had a “Sad Dollar,” for a rotary member who recently passed away. Many nodded in agreement, and several donated in memory of him as well. He was described as a quiet but funny member of the club who seemed to have had a lasting impact on everyone.
Finally, the last donation was a Sad Dollar for the victims of the California wildfires.
I was already having a weird morning, because I’m not used to giving presentations at 7 AM. Plus, I witnessed the aftermath of a terrible two-car accident as I was driving to St. Michael’s, so my head was in a weird space.
But that moment, filled with Happy Dollars and Sad Dollars, moved me and brought me back to ground. I remembered to appreciate the little things that I’m grateful for, and I had a fun time speaking with the group.
Also, as bonus they ended up donating those dollars to the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy at the end of the meeting.
So, there are many notes to take on their outlook on community, gratitude, and life in general…and if you read this, I’m grateful for you. I also encourage you to think about what you would give your Happy Dollar to, because we all have so many things to be happy for.