There was a special moment every year at the Ethel Harvest Jubilee when during the attendance drawing, the emcees (my dad and Barrett Elam) would hold up a carton filled with six bottles of Mountain Dew–ohhhh, the drink to make hyper children even more so. But, we local kids knew we didn’t have a chance, and we didn’t care.
No matter whose signature was scrawled on that slip of paper, we always heard loud and clear over the not-so-loud-and-clear sound system the name “BOBBY HUGH JONES!”
From the back row, in what little shade there was, seated next to my Great Aunt Miriam, my cousin Bob would jump up in sheer joy! There would first be a smattering of applause that then grew louder while smiles grew wider. Each year, the crowd would watch this boy of 40, later 50 and finally nearly 60 carefully make his way down the hill to collect his heavenly nectar. His buzzed haircut showcasing the obvious face of someone with Down syndrome.
When Bob arrived on stage, there were handshakes and hugs he thought my dad and Barrett deserved. Then, Bob would hold up high the carton for more recognition and cheers and then finally make his way back to his seat, shaking hands like a politician all the way. He would sit back down by Aunt Miriam who would say, “Oh my dear, what a surprise! Good for you!” Everyone knew that she was the thoughtful purchaser of what was sure to please her nephew and the crowd.
To me, this was what was so great about being from a small town. Times like this when we were all in it together, one community singing from the same songbook. And all it took each year was six bottles of pop and a willingness to be in sync for something good.
That really does apply for Give STL Day on May 7th and for our world and community today, and really, for most things that matter. Thanks to everyone giving to causes like Caring Solutions of Greater St. Louis and helping us serve the children and adults with developmental disabilities in our care. It’s a good thing, and we’re grateful to be community with you.