"Hidden Treasures" - My father keeps everything. I mean everything. Don't get me wrong, he does not reach "hoarder" status, but I think that's only because he is smart enough not to keep it all in one place. He believes that everything will become useful someday. If you wander into his garage, you can find coffee cans full of nails (used of course), every possible tool you ever needed, magazines from decades ago and countless knick knacks that are of unclear value. He has, in the past, had as many as five storage units at once. As much as we nag him about his habit, I will admit to being comforted by the fact he can lay his hands on anything I need anytime I ask. It just takes a bit of searching sometimes.
To his credit, he has spent considerable effort weaning some of the excess and reducing his inventory of "stuff". His storage units have been emptied and all of the stuff is now in his garage. I will admit to having followed in his footsteps. After we stopped moving several years ago, the stuff started piling up. As I have grown, in years and wisdom (I hope), I have discovered the secret behind the collection of things: It's not about the item, it's about knowing how to solve a problem right away without help.
My father spent years in the business world running some businesses and consulting for others. He is a very creative thinker and would often be able to predict the outcome of my actions long before I figured it out. I think collecting things for him is similar to collecting contacts in the business world. As we all know, solving most problems in the business world is simply a matter of knowing where to turn for help, and who to call to collaborate with. In the garage, it's finding the right tool and the right screw at the same time to fix the squeaky floor. Going to the hardware store is akin to giving up. When the time comes, each old doorknob or hinge becomes priceless. Old lamps are shined up and find a new purpose. A chair is re-glued and becomes a family favorite in a grandchild's house.
Here at the Chamber we have the greatest collection of priceless items you could imagine: our members. We have the best job, which allows us to help connect members; creating new working relationships to the benefit of all. We have long running businesses that find new energy through meeting industry counterparts who have insight that can benefit them. Next week is one of my favorite weeks on the Chamber Calendar: On Tuesday, the 12th, we get to say "THANK YOU!"
We love our members and are truly grateful for the support and energy we get from you all. Each member fills a unique spot in our collection and we could not do it without all of you. While we do not have the resources to reach out of area businesses, we do reach 80% of you with our bag-toting volunteer teams. Please enjoy the bag of items that are donated from fellow members. Spend a minute getting to know the volunteers and send them back to us with honest feedback. We need to know how we are doing meeting your needs. Are there programs you want to see changed? Do you have a new idea we should explore? There are a lot of things we can do here at the Chamber but mind reading isn't one of them. Please complete the survey to help guide the future of our chamber and our community.
My sincere thanks to the volunteers and to each of our members for their support. We are striving to grow the Kennebec Valley and your assistance goes a long way.