Press Release – Examiner – Unpack your bags and relax

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Matt Beem
President and COO
Hartsook Companies, Inc.

Unpack your bags and relax

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Independence, MO – Philanthropy isn’t just about giving to others.

It’s also about rewarding yourself.

My last column unpacked my Scouting summer. It was a busy interval that required a respite to recharge life’s batteries.

I found it last weekend on Sanibel Island, Fla. Just over the bridge from Fort Myers, Sanibel is a world away from the strain and stress of civilization.

We landed late Friday in Fort Myers after a several-hours layover in Orlando. We’d departed Kansas City International Airport after I finished work that afternoon, and I was thankful we could make it all the way that evening.

After grabbing an Avis rental car and stopping at Publix for rations and Taco Bell for a late-night snack, we rolled into the Sanibel Inn as the hour hand stroked midnight. Not to worry, though: There was no need to set an alarm the next morning.

And we didn’t. Instead, we rose as sunlight seeped through the curtains. It was after 9 a.m. – about an hour before lunch on most Beem Saturdays.

But this one was different. After a leisurely breakfast in the room, we lathered on the 85-SPF sunscreen and headed for the beach.

It and the two days that followed were for the scrapbooks.

  • At various times during the three-day getaway, Beems body surfed the aquamarine water that laps Sanibel Island. It was an unremarkable wave weekend, but we managed to find a few good rides and lots of laughs.
  • We all rode Sanibel Inn bicycles to and from breakfast at the Lighthouse Cafe, a family tradition. The oatmeal and blueberries were great, and the coffee was fresh and thick.
  • Tom and I built a sand castle, another regular Sanibel Island activity. This year’s was surrounded by a river and reservoir to supply and hold water, clear signs of our advancing engineering skills.
  • Joe, Maggie and I played a decade-old water game – one they’d deny if asked about it – in which I pretend I’m a monster hunting for snacks. When I catch one – i.e. Joe or Maggie – I take it to my imaginary cave. I easily bagged 25 snacks last weekend on Sanibel Island.
  • We enjoyed our regular haunts. Joe, Maggie and Tom all rung the hook (if you’ve been to Sanibel Island, you know what I mean) at the Lazy Flamingo near Captiva and Pinocchio’s Ice Cream near the lighthouse.
  • We also tried some new spots. The Island Cow was worth the wait, and J. C. Otter’s on Captiva was great.
  • And we had our usual share of family “discussions” –  AKA fights – over such essentials as sunscreen, Diet Coke and iPod paraphernalia. All par for the Beem Family weekend course.

Sanibel Island is good for my soul. It returns me to familiar spots, re-kindles traditions and introduces new activities in a place and at a pace that’s comfortable and comforting.

If you’re looking for solace, I recommend Sanibel Island. It’s quiet, accessible and affordable.

More than it, though, I encourage you to find some place – whether in Eastern Jackson County or beyond – to take a break from the good and important work you do.

We all need to recharge our batteries, and your gift to yourself will sharpen your service to others.Philanthropy isn’t just about giving to others.

> Matt Beem Bio