Lights, decorations, and banners don't hang themselves. Thank you for faithfully fulfilling the under-appreciated role of Santa's helper. Photo: Alexa Sklar |

On page 46 is a letter the mayor of Mesquite, Texas, received after a neighborhood was transformed by a project described in this issue's cover story. No, those aren't typos; we reproduced Ms. Johnsey's letter exactly as she wrote it, exclamation points and all.

Given the suspicion and cynicism with which most people view government, the author may have been shocked by the professionalism and expertise of her community's public works employees. Maybe, like virtually every resident of every city, county, and state, she thought about this particular government service only during the rare infrastructure failure.

But who cares? It's great to hear a compliment instead of a complaint.

In the spirit of eliciting further kudos for excellent work (even if no one but you and your team understand the accomplishment), let's review other activities you engage in that enable residents to blithely overlook all the things that go right:

10) Missing your kid's championship game because no one could fill in for you during a council meeting.

9) To save money, breaking a “simple” service into steps and awarding contracts for each.

8) Managing a sustainable operation for years out of necessity rather than fashion.

7) Always, always, always answering your phone, regardless of the hour.

6) Telling your neighbor's kid about summer jobs with your department.

5) Staying late to start/finish/continue paperwork.

4) Explaining to delightfully horrified grade school students what happens after they flush the toilet.

3) Preparing diligently for a meeting only to be questioned about the one topic you were sure had been put to rest.

2) Trying to predict when, how much, and how fast rain, snow, sleet, or hail will fall.

1) Missing sleep when the storm hits.

I could go on and on, and no doubt you've examples of your own (which I encourage you to share by e-mailing

Things go right because you dedicate your time, talent, energy, and pride to making your community merry and bright. We appreciate a job so well done that no one notices your efforts. Our compliments on making every season great.

Stephanie Johnston,
Editor in Chief