As any dad knows, when your darling daughter looks up at you with her beautiful blue eyes and sweetly asks if she can have a kitty, it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when you are getting a new pet. Earlier this summer that was the situation at the Jones Farm, when my daughter, Charlie, announced she wanted a few barn cats.
Growing up on a farm, barn cats were a way of life. Barns equal mice. Hence the need for barn cats.
So, I bit the bullet and arrived home with three “adorable” kittens (Charlie’s words, not mine). On a Friday afternoon, as I loaded them up for a trip to the vet for their shots, one of those precious critters sank its sharp little teeth into my hand. By the end of the weekend, my hand was swollen enough to look like I was wearing a Mickey Mouse glove.
After a trip to the ER, a session with a hand surgeon and five days in the hospital receiving antibiotics, I was patched up — just a little slower at texting. This story is a perfect example of best laid plans. I wanted a happy daughter, not an infected finger. But sometimes even the best intentions fall short.
That can be true in life and in business. I have a front-row seat to how electric cooperatives prepare, plan for and overcome even the most unexpected obstacles. We build our lines to exact standards to ensure they stand up to the most extreme conditions.
Then we get hit by storms, heat waves, blizzards or your neighbor’s kid who is learning to drive and takes out an electric pole with his mom’s minivan.
For most people, the mantra is “plan for the worst; hope for the best.” That’s not good enough for your electric cooperative.
As we head into winter, employees at your electric co-op are
working out the widgets and focusing on preventative maintenance. They winterize equipment and trim back trees that could snap power lines during a heavy snowfall. In the office, they cross-train their employees so no piece of the puzzle is missing or delayed.
At our power plants, we use high-tech tools such as robots, sensors, vibration analyzers and ultrasound guns to find those gremlins that otherwise would sneak in and interrupt your supply of electricity. This constant work has the added advantage of keeping employees safe.
As we enter the month of Thanksgiving, we all have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful my daughter has a vicious little ball of fur that she loves, and we should all be thankful for the dedication our electric cooperatives have to providing reliable electricity.
Kittens should be cuddly and your electricity should always be available. Let us all stop and remember everything we should be thankful for this month and always.
Caleb Jones is the executive vice president and CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives in Jefferson City. He is a member of Boone Electric Cooperative.