Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 30, 2012

Lindsay's column: 11.23.12 >> Caring goes beyond coloring

By Lindsay Eckert
[friday] editor/Turkey wrangler

— When this column comes out, I may have already been buried alive by hundreds of turkeys from the Kokomo Tribune’s coloring contest. This week, I received countless phone calls from little voices squeaking out questions - with some parental coaching in the background - about the deadline for the turkey coloring contest. I had parents call in Monday 15 minutes before deadline, then rush off the phone in a panic to get their little one to our front doors before 5 p.m. to hand over their prized piece of coloring art. Another teaching from the turkey coloring contest: Apparently, the coloring contest isn’t just for the kids; I’ve had teens and all generations send their carefully crafted turkey creations, giving my eyes and desk a pretty cool visual feast.   

Since this is my first time manning the desk - or for the past few weeks, the destination for anything that gobbles - I was taken aback by the number of entries and the effort put forth. As I was handed stacks of turkeys such as the bride and groom turkeys who came in their own box, the “Mark Sanchez turkey” who was wearing a tutu or a computer-generated design turkey, I did wonder, “Why?”

But, as my weeks here have quickly turned to months, I answered the question I asked myself before the speech bubble even floated out of my head. “People care in Kokomo.”

And do they ever.

It’s easy for people to show gratitude one day of the year at Thanksgiving, it’s simple for people to empty change out of their pockets for a Salvation Army Santa. But, it takes heart to build We Care Park, it takes thoughtfulness to decorate Christmas trees for Trim-A-Tree. And it takes a caring sincerity to warmly welcome a Kokomo newbie. I’m sure KokoMantis agrees with me on this one!

And a warm welcome it has been.

After my first column, I received emails from people wanting to meet me for coffee or just drop a note to welcome me, one business even sent me a box of chocolates.

In a world of wise-cracking reality shows, negativity can be glamorized more than Hollywood. Kokomo may be just a little nook or cranny in the grand scheme of the world, but it’s a pretty cozy cranny full of people living deeper than the surface and proving a second of sincerity can make a person’s day. It has made mine.