The xylophone visual - Denese Rodgers

I love where I work at Connecting Henry. It is multi-cultural, multi-functional, and feels like "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."

We're headed into the holidays, we've revved up the phones, and the holiday period is our primo-inside-the-Cuisinart season. Having said that, we are also very well-organized. If you were doing a visual on us, we would look like a xylophone -- you know the little "ding-ding-ding" thing that you see used in cabarets and weirdo magic shows.

Because I love colors, and we practice cultural diversity, we've got the Fisher Price version (as our imaginary mascot) with all the red, and blue, and yellow bars. By the way, you know I had to investigate exactly how the things are put together.

Underneath the bars of a xylophone, there are resonators that enhance and prolong the tones. I think of the resonators in our office as those organizations and individuals that have been with us since the beginning. They give depth and meaning to our present and future efforts.

I'm waxing somewhat lyrical because of how melodic, or disharmonic, we have the ability to be. It is almost funny. We can tell from the first three or four calls how a day is going to proceed. When the first couple of callers are off-the-chain, we check to see if there is a full moon.

That's when we feel like the xylophone is being played with a couple of ping-pong balls. If we get meanie calls, we pull out the voice register and tone control techniques until the "Jerry Springer" syndrome goes away.

Other times, the calls are sad, or we're unable to help, due to limited resources. During those times, it is like there is a damper muting the tones. The impish side of me has even looked into using Dolly Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas" as our theme song for this year's Community Christmas ...

Most days here are a melody. Most days are happy and peculiar, with a cacopohy of voices, and languages, and ideas, and improvements (and deadlines and budgets.)

We're coming into the holidays now, so we hope our volunteers pour in, as they have in the past. It is like the annual appearance of the rest of the orchestra. We have the "percussion" that beats out the message, seeking new audiences. We have the "winds" that maintain the flow of communication and ideas. We have the "horns" that alert us to possibilities and opportunities.

So, from here to the end of 2009, you can listen for our little xylophone. You'll hear it loud and clear as our annual Christmas delight/panic gets underway. You'll hear it as we need volunteers, and as we present new opportunities for services.

Although, for those of you who know us, you know that I need some tunes more lively than just a "ding-ding-ding." I wonder if we could do a heavy-metal-xylophone theme?

Denese Rodgers is executive director of Connecting Henry, a social-services, networking, community organization in Henry County.