Three Ray County Courthouse coworkers have shown it doesn't always take dollars and cents to be happy on a tight budget.
Sometimes, it's just equal parts good soil and generosity.
In a typical year, new flowers bloom around the Courthouse in time for Richmond's annual Mushroom Festival. This year, Circuit Court Clerk Carolynne Conner and coworkers Melissa Phillips and Linda Weisz got some disappointing news from the Ray County Commissioners: There wouldn't be any money to fill the planters in the square this year.
"It's kinda 'blah'™ without them, dull," Conner said.
The three ladies couldn't take this lying down. During the last week of April, they took up a collection that raised approximately $200 from 17 fellow Courthouse employees that fully covered this year's flowers, including geraniums, Gerber Babies and sweet potato vines, from Wal-Mart and Taylor's Greenhouse.
"After we got them planted, we had several people thank us for doing it and saying that it looked nice," Phillips said. "These out here don't look so nice now, because of all the rain. They looked pretty in the beginning!"
"Hopefully they'll look pretty again," Weisz added.
Melissa's daughter, Alex, pitched in to help the three, Melissa, Weisz and Conner, plant the flowers in a single evening, April 29, to help fulfill Alex's National Honor Society service hours, and the flowers bloomed in time for the Mushroom Festival's May 1 opening day.
"This is our daytime home, our work home," Conner said. "And you want it to look nice, and it always looks nice. But to have empty flower vessels, it just wouldn't look right."