When I was a little bitty girl, my parents and I had gone somewhere and gotten a whole bunch of cattails. The neighborhood kids and I had a ball using them as swords and scattering all of the fuzz off of them. It looked like a big old blizzard on a little street. My friend's mom was not so pleased with our efforts and tried, in vain, to rake up all of the scattered pieces of those cattails. I remember her seething and watering her lawn down so that she could try to rake all of that mess up.
Sometimes, when something has been done....it cannot be undone in an easy manner.
Remember that little verb project of Diane's? The one that I thought was going to be so *fun*. Yeah well....I am about over it already and am only into week #2. This weeks verb was SCATTER. In my mind, this was a fun verb. Before the end of the week....not so fun.
This past Thursday my little town of Plainview Texas, population 22,000, was dealt a huge blow. Cargill, Plainview's largest employer, will close it's operations here on 2/1/13. You can read more about it here. They employ over 2,000. You do the math. It was built here in Plainview in 1971. Some have worked at that plant since it's opening here.
Peanut Corporation of America
Remember the peanut butter scare a few years ago? The one because of salmonella? Yeah it came from here. We kinda look at it like John Wayne Gacy's neighbors looked at him....we did not see or smell anything. Sorry about that.
We have counted 7 other businesses that will close their doors the day
that Cargill does. Those businesses are directly related to Cargill.
That must be at least another 1000 people. That is not even taking into
consideration the other jobs that will be lost due to our downward spiraling economy.
They also were a big contributor to many community service activities here. Those include United Way, Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross, Literacy Council,
Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, Optimists, Rotary Club, Industrial Foundation,
City Council, Country Club Board of Directors, Special Olympics, Cotton
Barons Ball, CASA and many others.
The 1st Kmart that closed before I even moved here in 1996.
Thursday morning, people got up and went to work not knowing that they would be without a job withing a matter of hours.
Oh Cargill was good....no one had a clue. Not even the people that worked there. Instead of selling the plant, they have chosen to IDLE it. That means there is no hope of any other industry coming in and buying that building. Cargill is in hopes to reopen it if the cattle industry picks back up in 5-10 years.
The 2nd Kmart that has been closed for at least 10 years.
People will move. They will have. We don't have jobs to help those people. They will scatter. There is no way around that. They will not be able to feed and take care of their families here.
When they scatter, so will so many other things in this little community.
J.C. Penny outlet that has closed within the last year.
We felt the fallout at work Thursday and Friday. People running in to see if they can go look for other work. People calling me to ask me if I had heard.
Starbucks that has been closed over 4 years.
And me saying over and over again....do not quit! Stay until until the end so you can get a severance package and unemployment.
Staples closed over 5 years.
People are just in shock. Because, even if you were not directly employed at Cargill, if you live in Plainview you will be effected. It's like everyone woke up and were turned into zombies overnight.
Wendy's closed over 3 years. You can still occasionally see people sitting in the drive thru wondering why no one is taking their order.
We have lost other businesses here but nothing on this scale. Everyone I have pictured here are all on our interstate. Now tell me, how inviting is that to a business that is thinking of coming in?
So....what is a person to do? What can you say to help begin to put the scattered pieces of people's lives back together. Because let's face it, God has a plan and it'll all be alright just are not going to cut it at this time.
Like the cattails...nothing can be done quickly and easily to fix this mess. We can hope for the best and re-group. In the meantime, people are hurting and are getting desperate. It will get worse.
And yet, even though the town is bleeding, I do not think it is dead
All that I know to do at this time is to treat people...all people...with kindness. Take the time to listen to people because they need to talk. Call people by their names. Slow down and take the time to SEE that people are hurting. Pray. Hug people.
Then it dawned on me....shouldn't WE have been doing that already? No matter if you are in Plainview Texas or anywhere else in this big beautiful world...we should already been doing this.
Shouldn't I have already been doing this?
If we all do this together, drop our tiny little pebbles into our tiny piece of the water, our ripples will eventually touch and make a difference.
.....who wants to toss pebbles with me?