Let me say right now that the Ankeny Chamber of Commerce, and Julie Cooper in particular, are awesome. Our merchants truly make Ankeny a wonderful place to come to visit, eat, and shop. Ankeny offers the best possible compromise for shopping, compared to Des Moines or smaller towns. You’ll find all the shopping opportunities you could want, ranging from the big box stores with easy parking and lighter traffic to the delightful experience found in the specialty shops and main street atmosphere of downtown. With everything in between available somewhere in town.

When I met with them about my lights, they got it. It was such an amazing thing to talk to somebody who wasn’t hostile and viewing you as a “problem.” Quite the opposite. Julie knew what I was doing was good for merchants because their office had taken the calls on how to get to my house. I got to meet several people in the office who had seen my lights and were touched and delighted with them. These were regular Iowan’s. These were the people I put my lights up for.

After all the hostility I had faced up to that point from almost everyone else in an official capacity in Ankeny, I found myself literally blinking back tears at one point in Julie’s office.

Better yet, she had a great thought, which was for me to make presentations to some of our service groups about my lights in late fall and to line of three or four volunteers to make sure things went smoothly on the busiest nights. I would furnish candy canes for them to hand out and everybody wins.