The following article is courtesy of Charlie Ross, President & CEO of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce. Thanks Charlie!!!!……………………..
Leslie Savage – Justice of the Peace and one-time state legislator – would go around town with a hundred-dollar bill sticking out of his jacket’s breast pocket. Everyone called Les the “hundred-dollar millionaire!”
Very few people fortunately are fooled by “hundred-dollar millionaires.” But I thought of Les when I was in Erie recently to attend the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association meeting. My reflection was not on the association but the town. We were in the classiest hotel in town right on the Lake and next door to the convention center. But until the last day, I felt like I was being hosted by a “hundred-dollar millionaire.” What happened on the last day to change my mind? Only the discovery of some of Erie’s real value.
Going to a little restaurant immediately adjacent to the hotel, we re-discovered lake perch. It was a slow evening, so I went to the kitchen to see the chef – he prefers “cook” – and inquired about where I could get some perch and walleye like we had just eaten. There are only two places, and he preferred the second one. It was a neighborhood store about two miles away.
As we left town, a quick stop at the store yielded the mother lode: lake perch, walleye, homemade pierogies (potato, cheese and kraut), and fresh homemade, home-cured sauerkraut. The store owner said her mother was currently lamenting the delay in receiving the fresh crop of cabbage from the local farmer before the frost hurt the crop.
We packed up the cooler and lit out feeling like we had just discovered the true richness of Erie.
The Valley has values like that one everywhere. In the Valley, our value is in our people and our places. I see the value in our people every day: In our work ethic, our creativity and our hospitality, and in the constant community that comes from being members of the Susquehanna River Valley. In our places we have the beauty of the river and the unique charm of each of our hometowns, not to mention in the history our area holds. Erie has its own unique value as well, but in as great a “hundred-dollar millionaire” lakefront city, you have to look a whole lot harder to find value than you do in the Valley.
And you may recall the story of my great uncle Daten. He came to town on Saturday for a load of lime. I worked in the feed mill at the time and loaded the two tons of it into his truck. When I finished, he gave a quarter as a tip. I looked at him for a while, then the quarter and then remarked, “But Uncle Daten, we’re related!”
So he took the quarter back. My first lesson in the word, “VALUE.”
Let the EXCHANGE continue…