Sometimes one should become a part of something greater than their self.
That's what happened to me a number of years ago when my wife and I were at the Cades Cove Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We decided to make a commitment.
I had written earlier about passing the donation boxes in the park and not contributing, or at most a dollar or two.
At times I felt guilty because I truly enjoy the park and its amenities.
Well, at that particular time, I let myself get backed into a corner by one of the attendants at the center. She talked me into becoming a member of the Great Smoky Mountains Association.
For my one year donation, I received a water bottle, a membership card that allowed for discounts on purchases in the park and we also began receiving the Smokies Guide, a quarterly publication about activities in the park. We also began receiving a slick "Smokies Life" magazine with insightful and intriguing stories about the area.
I maintained my annual membership for a number of years and then decided to step up to the plate. I purchased a lifetime membership for my wife and myself.
We could pay it off over a few years and have added benefits. That was great and I knew the organization was forever making the park a better place to visit.
This past Easter trip we decided to stop at the new Oconaluftee Visitors Center just outside Cherokee, NC.
The facilities were amazing. There was a nice porch with rocking chairs overlooking the farmstead and the mountains.
The inside was spacious and inviting and entertaining. I really enjoyed our stop. Checkout this You Tube video.
As I was standing there, taking in the beauty of the facility, I came to realize that my wife and I had a part in its construction.
By becoming a member of the Great Smoky Mountains Association, we had become a part of something that was far greater than we were.
And that was a good feeling.
Next post: June 5, 2012
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