Little Details

My Dad likes to work with wood.

Growing up, he was forever, cutting, sanding, and nailing things into place. If Mom needed a new laundry room cabinet--he would build it himself, always making sure to tell us, “Why spend $100 on something I can build for $50?”

When I was 10, he moved beyond furniture and household repair and into new construction. He decided to turn our two-car garage into living space--a bedroom, laundry room, full bath and mud room—and added a new garage onto the end of that.

As crazy as it sounds, it turned out great.

I got my own room (I found out later it was supposed to be his office), Mom got a first-floor laundry and the kids got a new paved driveway, which included a basketball hoop.

I was just old enough to help him and all his buddies. We lived in Wisconsin at the time, which meant if you supplied enough beer, you could build dang near anything at or near cost. Of course, the trick was to hide the beer till late in the day to avoid those pesky liability issues.

In any event, amongst all the hub-bub, I remember my Dad constantly reminding me to “measure twice and cut once.”

It’s still good advice--and could have served as a theme for this issue.

Inside you’ll read about how little details have added up to big savings for the folks who manage Springbrook and Naperbrook golf courses in the Naperville Park District. You’ll see how one of the keys to attacking and repelling invasive species is to constantly search them out--literally looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack--and ridding them before they gain traction. And, you’ll see how the folks in Amarillo, Texas recreated a park to better match the needs of its aging population--turning an inactive park into a popular gem.

All these stories, as well as the columns by Ron Ciancutti, Randy Gaddo and Fred Engh, echo this same theme--paying attention to small details pays big dividends.

It’s kind of like cutting a board correctly, one time. It seems easy. It seems like common sense. But, it’s easier said than done.

I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Till next month…

Rodney J Auth


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