Yard of the Month: Remembering a tradition
Today the Overbrook PRIDE committee works year-long to maintain and foster a sense of community pride in our city, our main street and our community at large.
But when I was a kid back in the 1980s, nothing fostered community pride more than a contest that was conducted for each of the warmer months of spring and summer. It was called Yard of the Month.
Many of you who are over the age of 30 probably remember it. A select few of you may even have won the coveted award. And if so you'll recall that the winner, aside from any prize that might have been awarded, received a special sign - white with black lettering - that declared for all to see - "Yard of the Month."
The prize was awarded by the Community Betterment Committee, and the winner was usually featured in our hometown newspaper - then called The Osage County Chronicle.
Winning "Yard of the Month" ensuring an endless parade of passersby - on foot, on bikes and in cars - all pausing to admire the immaculate lawn and the colorful beds of flowers.
I'll never forget the summer my grandparents won "Yard of the Month." Our grandmother Joy was so excited. Before the sign and the photographer arrived she issued orders to all of the grandkids. The patios must be swept! The windows washed! The flowers watered!
Our cousin Paul was visiting from Panama that summer, and he didn't understand why we needed to do all that. As he said to Grandma, "But you've already won!" It did no good. We were put to work making sure the already tidy yard was perfect for its close-up.
I'll also never forget that a few months later our mother, ever the competitive spirit, decided to make her own sign when she couldn't win the prize through legitimate means. Her hand-painted "Yard of the Month" sign went up in our yard later that summer - perhaps fooling a few people but in all likelihood placing our family on a permanent black list by the good folks at the betterment committee.
Do you remember "Yard of the Month?" Share your stories in our forum on Facebook.