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Cityscape: ‘A Just and Lasting Peace’

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‘A Just and Lasting Peace’

BUILDING MEMORIES: Despite being caught in a thunderstorm, I loved seeing the Lincoln Memorial and other D.C. monuments with my sons, Ernie (tall) and Keats (short). | Photo by Karen Craigo

In early August, before school started back up, my family of four – including me and my husband and our sons, ages 16 and 10 – hit the road and headed for points east.

We’d made a popular choice, as it turns out; Travel Agent Central predicted at the start of the season that vacation spending would rise to 91% over pre-COVID levels and approach the $200 billion mark (roughly equivalent to our food budget, I’m pretty sure!). The anticipated spend per family was $2,644.

I think we find room in the budget, for business or family, for those things that matter most to us, and I was keenly aware of the significance of this year’s vacation. My older son, Ernie, is a senior, and unless I really refine my wheedling skills, this may well have been the last family car trip for him.

My husband, Mike, and I always try to accomplish a few goals on our treks. One is to really indulge in the time we have together as a family, and particularly the rare time we’re all stuck four feet apart from one another with no means of easy escape.

Another goal is to make memories. It’s doubtful my kids will remember my cooking – maybe some notable disasters will have staying power – and I’ve been racking my brain, but I don’t think I’ve offered up very many good adages of the “My mother always said …” variety.

But it would be hard for my kids to forget their first view of Disneyland or the Hollywood sign. They’re going to remember the Grand Canyon and Wrigley Field. New York City likely will ring a bell.

This summer’s trip was to one of the most iconic vacations yet, with an entire catalog of Washington, D.C., monuments and historic sites added to their memory banks.

The solemnity of Ford’s Theatre, where President Abraham Lincoln was shot, must have made an impression, and if the rebuilt opera box doesn’t have staying power, maybe they’ll remember the bloodstained pillow from being placed under the president’s head, or the actual Derringer pistol used to bring down that good man.

I’m hoping they won’t remember how they sniped at one another along the length of the reflecting pool while I limped with a blister the size of a tea saucer and a sudden summer thunderstorm flashed and banged, with us out in the open and no shelter in sight.

I snapped a shot of us at our destination, the Lincoln Memorial, and it’s not a great photo. You can see the unlikely mix of my sunburn and rain-wet hair, both acquired within the span of an hour, and the boys offer forced smiles through a temporary truce. Mike’s not there; he’d seen the Lincoln Monument before and sweetly offered to walk a couple of miles through the storm for the car.

It was important for the boys to see Lincoln’s second inaugural address, engraved on the north interior wall of the monument.

Coinciding with the end of the Civil War, the speech issues a powerful call for peace. Lincoln asks those listening to care for others, even the onetime enemy: “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Memory made. That battle won, we’d leave there. I’d hobble down the steps, a tall, lanky boy on my left and a short but strong one on my right, to seek out some Indian food, something our imperfect family union always agrees on, so we might dine together, with malice toward none and charity for all.

Maybe next year’s journey, if we’re granted one, will be more perfect. That’s a value both a family and a nation should strive for.

The importance of cash on hand

In a recent conversation, David Mitchell, an economist with MSU, said when it comes to talk of recession, he’s optimistic. He doesn’t think we’ll see one this year.

Still, he advises caution as a general rule because things happen. It’s not a bad idea to put cash in short-term securities, such as a short-term certificate of deposit or a savings account, in the case of a black swan event – an unexpected negative event that wreaks havoc on the economy.

Small-business owners should try to have some cash on hand and be prepared, Mitchell said, especially amid talk of recession.

“Typically, when signs aren’t really clear, that means things could go one way or the other,” he said.

Saving offers a cushion in case of catastrophe, but as a bonus, it also allows businesses and individuals to capitalize on opportunity.

“If you’re staying nimble and things turn around quickly, you’ll be able to capture that,” he said.

I heard … 

“It’s taken us several decades to get into this situation, and it’s not something we’re going to get out of overnight.”

—Brandon Jenson

A resolution by Springfield City Councilmembers Monica Horton and Brandon Jenson passed Aug. 21 requires city staff to compile quarterly reports on nuisance properties. Data will include the number of property notices issued, the amount of time for closure of a notice and the top 20 owners of offending property.

I saw some blowback in social media, with some suggesting this would be a lot of work for results that will likely be – to use a polite term – filed away.

Jenson was hopeful, though, and emphasized that information is necessary for data-informed solutions, and the involvement of about a dozen community groups will keep things on task.

Springfield: A collaborative community

I often hear that in Springfield and Greene County, groups and individuals work well together.

We’re a collaborative community, it is said. I’ve seen local government bodies work with one another, and I’ve known of developers who successfully plan and build with neighborhoods in mind.

On Aug. 29, CoxHealth, Ozarks Technical Community College, Missouri State University and Springfield Public Schools announced they were forming the Alliance for Healthcare Education, a partnership to train health workers and supplement a workforce that badly needs more person power. (Read the full story starting on the cover of this issue.)

“There’s an electrifying air of collaboration in our community,” Max Buetow, CEO of CoxHealth, said to the assembled crowd. “There are many challenges and opportunities for our region, and it’s encouraging to see community leaders come together and ask how we can work together to solve our common needs.”

One of those needs is the challenge posed by workers aging out of  health professions and into enhanced need for care themselves, with too few younger people available to step into those roles.

It was impressive to see the partnership, particularly between MSU and OTC, two academic institutions that frequently work together, even though they often compete for tuition dollars. Add to the mix the region’s largest employer in CoxHealth and the state’s largest school district in SPS, and the potency of the alliance starts to come clear.

Evidence is amassing that we are pretty good collaborators here, whether that’s seen through pooling of federal funds for infrastructure projects or through powerhouse groups working together to ensure care is available for our people.

It’s kind of nice to live in a place like that.


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