And, The Winner Is. . .

On September 26 the winner of the annual Tidy Town competition is announced.

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Invitation sent to the Tidy Towns Portmagee, County Kerry committee.

Since 1958 Irish communities have been vying for this prestigious title.  Initially 52 communities entered, today there are over 700 entrants.  This competition, it is said, is not so much about winning, but more about each community working together to create harmony and to beautify the community, increasing the pride people have in the place they call home.

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I remember working on an air force base when word came down that the “Inspector General” team would be coming.  All of a sudden things were painted, flowers planted, roads patched, fences mended and shoes spit shined.  Why, I wondered could this not be done for the people who lived and worked here on an everyday basis, instead of just when “company came calling”?  Similar to gramma saving the good china and glassware for special occasions.

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Although this program was initiated by the Irish Tourist Board for the beautification of Ireland for the tourist trade, it now is more about community pride. In 1995 this program was shifted to the Department of Environment, Community and local Government along with the support of a national sponsor SuperValu supermarket chain .

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Hundreds of thousands of people make choices each day to create the community of their dreams.  They pick up trash, chop weeds, plant flowers, trees, shrubs, paint fences, restore historic structures, wash windows and many other small tasks are repeated each day by people of all ages and abilities.

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Schools take on art projects, you may find grandfathers touching up paint on the local bridge, children drawing their versions of flowers on flat rocks placed around the base of trees in their schoolyards. No job seems to small to do.  It is a great example of “many hands make light work”.

Have you ever heard this poem called “Everybody, Anybody, Somebody, Nobody and Someone Else”?

Let me tell you the story, of four young lads by the name of Tom, Dick, Harry and Joe.

Their full names were in fact:

Tom Somebody

Dick Everybody

Harry Anybody and,

Joe Nobody

Together they were the best of friends, but I must confess, when it came to a task they were not very good.

You see, whenever they were given a job, they all began to fight.  Because this is how it always went.

Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it and Anyone could have done it.  But, in the end Nobody ended up with the job.

When Nobody did it, Somebody was always mad because it was Everybody’s job.  But Everybody thought that Somebody would do it instead. Now, Nobody realized that Nobody would do it. So, consequently Everybody blamed Somebody. When Nobody did what Everybody could have done in the first place.

If you have never read this, have forgotten the rest of it, or would like to read it again in full you can find it on All.Poetry site. It is obvious that these four lads do not live in Ireland, where the communities work together to ensure that they live in a beautiful place.  Perhaps places rife with graffiti might be improved with Tidy Towns initiative.

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If you could list some thing that you would like to change in the looks of your neighborhood, community or city what would be on your list? I know on mine, I would have to write (excuse the pun) graffitti. Along with that, trash along the roadway. And, yards not maintained. What would be on your list?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a natural sense of community spirit to beautify, or just clean up the environment? How does a city create that motivation? How about an entire country with that spirit of beautification?

Well, perhaps we can learn something from a country that has has managed to create and expand this momentum since 1958.

And, the winner is: EVERYBODY

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