Press Release – Examiner – Tis better to give than … uh, maybe

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Matt Beem
President and COO
Hartsook Companies, Inc.

‘Tis better to give than to … uh, maybe

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Independence, MO – You think giving is more difficult than receiving?

I’m not so sure.

We arrived home Thursday from Maggie’s swim meet at the Henley Aquatic Center. She swam her best time of the season.

I was proud of my little girl. The smile was wide on my face as I rolled into the driveway.

Then I hit the door.

Joe’s band, the State of the Union, was practicing in the living room. While some kids had participated in “Take Your Child to Work Day,” Joe and his band buddies decided to sharpen their skills for Tuesday’s middle school talent show try-out.

Ours has always been the Kool-Aid house: The place where kids land for driveway basketball, front yard football and in-the-house hide and go seek. All in all, I think we’re pretty cool parents.

Still, Thursday’s gift of music was less than ideally timed. Between a loud rendition of the All-American Rejects “Move Along” – which was surprisingly recognizable – and the river of amplifiers and guitar cases overflowing into the family room, we had 30 minutes to get dinner on the table and drag Maggie and Tom back out the door to dance lessons and Cub Scouts.

The week’s interesting gifts didn’t end with Thursday evening’s live concert. Next came the “available-for-the-taking” church piano. I suspect it once played a central role in weekly worship but found its way to a little-traveled corner of the basement as newer and fancier models entered the scene.

Our church youth leader, Ryan, offered it last weekend to any kid who wanted it. “You just have to get it out of here by this weekend,” Joe reports him to have said.

Joe also said he shot his arm into the air and indicated he’d take the itinerant instrument. “Really?” Ryan is reported to have asked. “Yes,” Joe confirms he replied.

So yesterday, a moving truck rolled into the driveway with our newly adopted spinet. And because it’s the second piano to occupy the Beem home, Kate and I asked Joe to expound on his eagerness to bring it into the family.

“I don’t know,” he initially replied, his typical response to most questions these days. “I just thought it would be good to have an extra for when Maggie and Tom and I are all trying to practice at one.”

“Right!” Kate and I exclaimed in unison, the disbelief evident in our voices. “Why else?”

“I don’t’ know,” he hesitated again, the truth finally climbing to the surface. “I guess so I can have it to take to college in a few years for my band there. I thought it would be good to get one now, when it’s available.”

And there it was, from the mouth of an eighth grader. A rare glimpse into the deeper character and concern for the future parents continually strive to mold.

“So can I go back outside now and play?” Joe asked, quickly reverting to age-appropriate behavior. “Sure,” Kate said as we looked at each other unbelievingly.

Loud music? An extra piano (for which we will make a financial gift to the church youth program)?

Not exactly the kinds of gifts we had in mind. Yet here they are, ready to keep on giving for years to come.

Thanks, Joe.

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