Absence makes the heart grow fonder 

Published 9:19 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I’m not the biggest egg-nog fan, but I usually get one glass during the holidays and then I’m done. I can’t ever recall sitting through a spectacular fireworks show on the Fourth of July wishing I had another glass of that nutmeg custard. One glass per year is fine with me.

Then my world was forever changed when one wintry season about three years ago, I found Christmas Milk. This unique brand of egg-nog was a game changer. Smooth and sweet, a must have Christmas treat! I think that year I bought a few gallons and couldn’t wait until next year to have some more.

The following year, the wait was over and I was ready; Christmas Milk, here I come. But it never arrived in the store. I waited and looked and shopped around. I contacted the company, but with no luck on finding that sweet creamy taste of heaven anywhere locally. Christmas didn’t seem the same. After each passing year, the thought of slurping each drink ever so intentionally to ensure the flavor lingered as long as it could in my mouth, would make me want it more. The absence made me realize what I had missed.

Every time I give tours of our Bluegrass Community and Technical College campus here in Winchester, it never ceases to amaze me how giving this community is. The donor wall in our front lobby recognizes gifts to establish the campus and it often makes me wonder, “What was the motivation for our small town to be able to out give other communities that are larger?”

No doubt that it was the hard work of several key individuals, including JoEllen Reed, but I also think that there was a motivation for higher education in Winchester inspired by an absence.

Since 1890, Winchester was a college town. Kentucky Wesleyan College made its home at what is now College Park until it moved to Owensboro in 1951. Shortly after, Southeastern Christian College took over operations of the campus until it finally closed its doors in 1979. That started an absence of higher education in Winchester for more than 20 years.

Then in 2000, Bluegrass Community and Technical College (formerly Lexington Community College) began offering classes in Winchester. Higher education was back.

With a temporary campus located in the Carnegie Library at College Park, it allowed the campus to grow in enrollment.  Behind the scenes, those who knew what they had missed were motivated to donate for a permanent location. That absence is what I like to think helped generate more than $2 million in our small community for the BCTC Winchester-Clark County Campus. What a way to give!

Giving is what makes this community different. Giving is what makes us unique. Even though absence makes the heart grow fonder, I hope that you never let there be an absence in your giving. It changes lives, it betters the community and it makes the world a brighter place.

And if you are looking for impactful ways to give, make checks payable to ‘BCTC Foundation’ or bring to the campus some Christmas Milk. Store locations can be found online at christmasmilk.com.