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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

It’s the Spark Plugs

A guy’s car breaks down on a rural road on the way to a job interview. He curses his luck, gets out, pops the hood and peers into the smoking engine. After a few moments with no success, he hears someone say

“Reckon it’s your spark-plugs, mate.”

The man looks up and around, wondering who is speaking – nobody there. He goes back to poking around under the hood when, once again

“Buddy. It’s your spark plugs.”

The man looks up again and sees nobody, just a brown and a black horse peering over the nearby fence at him. He looks back under his hood when he hears again

“Are you an idiot? It’s your spark-plugs!”

He looks up once more and sees the black horse rearing up on its hind-legs and shouting at him “It’s your spark-plugs! Your spark-plugs!”

The guy, in a fit of panic, seizes his briefcase from his back seat just as the horse leaps the fence and starts walking toward the car. The man sprints away down the road in the opposite direction until he comes to a nearby small village. Shaking, feeling sick, he tells the local mechanic where he left the vehicle and arranges for him to pick it up and fix it for twice the usual rate. He briefly considers going to the police, but decides no one will believe him. He instead ducks into the nearest pub and sits down in the corner. Eventually, he plucks up the courage to get himself a drink.

“You okay buddy, you look like you’ve seen a ghost. What’s the matter?” asks the bartender. The man considers telling his story and decides to go ahead with it. The bartender listens intently, and finally, as the man’s story comes to its conclusion he says “That’s amazing! That’s incredible. Two horses up the road, you say?”

“Yeah,” replies the man. “Scared me half to death.”

“Two horses. A black one and a brown one?”


“And it was the black one who mentioned your spark plugs?”

“Yeah,” replies the man, wondering where the bartender is going with this.

“No, that’s good!” exclaims the bartender, relieved. “The brown one doesn’t know anything about cars.”

I realize that the solutions to many of our problems in Tama County today will not likely come from yelling horses. It seems strange to even have to ask this most basic of questions – “What’s the problem?” In our fast paced day-to-day often we are so busy finding solutions to problems that haven’t been defined. It was Wayne Cordeiro that said “You cannot rectify problems if you deny that they exist”.

Spend the next week, and take the time to notice all that is good and all that isn’t in and around our county. Be honest and really look. I think you’ll start to see that the solutions are right there in front of us.

Don’t be alarmed if you hear a black horse yelling about spark plugs – he knows what he’s talking about  ;)



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