When you hear The Calling, take notes. While callings are often divinely inspired, this one is not. In fact, this one comes from a letter to The Zephyr. Peter Gorham, who I only casually know, laid it out in a letter to Box One on June 5, 2008. And The Zephyr, with a little help from The Peever, are going to answer the call.


Peter, to make a quick summation, is wondering how we can improve life in Galesburg. He relies heavily on a book written by Richard Longworth, “Caught In The Middle.” It lays out, in a pretty straightforward manner, the problems facing the Midwest in a global economy. Being a journalist, Longworth’s book is well researched and provides a good history of how we, the Midwest, have responded so far. It is a book we will look to for help as we endeavor to answer The Call.


The Calling we are going to take up is of a local nature: To head Galesburg in a new direction. In Peter’s words: “To make Galesburg an exciting place where exciting people want to live.” Wow! That’s quite a calling. To put your hands on that notion is like grabbing a red hot pan from the stove and not letting go. It is a hard notion to conjure up. But than, callings are never meant to be easy.


The first problem that I face is that I hate committees. The one thing we don’t need is another list of things that we should do, but never seem to find the time or resources to begin. So, for lack of a better name, we are going to put together a “think and do tank.” What we think up, we will implement, help someone else do, or support someone who may already be doing something similar. Hopefully, that will keep our focus practical, doable, and local. Our aim will be to not add another document to put on some bureaucrats shelf, never to be seen or read again.


The Zephyr has often been accused of negativeness in our attempt to suggest that perhaps we are traveling down the wrong road; that maybe there are other ways to get where we all would like to go; that we have many more resources than “the powers that be” are willing to utilize.


So as part of The Zephyr’s 20th year, Norm has agreed to sponsor the putting together of twenty people who we believe can “think outside the box,” Twenty people who have not necessarily been a part of the mainstream. Twenty people who are willing to try to think and do us out of some of the problems we are facing. Twenty people who are willing to take a shot at making Galesburg a better place to live. Twenty people who can move outside of the traditional and conservative parameters that have been the prevailing theme of our current leadership.


Believe me, neither I, nor The Zephyr, have any delusions, or illusions, of grandeur. We’re just going to take a shot at Peter’s calling. The only thing I do know is a calling when I see it. And this one sits well with the notion I have that we should stay local when attempting to solve our problems, that we should be practical, creative, innovative, and not be afraid of change. I’ve always advocated that we should follow our hearts to see where it takes us.

So we’re looking for twenty people. If you’re interested, e-mail Norm at thezephyr.com., or me at weik@grics.net.