Not many people nowadays are familiar with whole milk, in which the richest part does indeed rise to the top of the container.
Homogenized, 2 percent, 1 percent or skim milk fills our dairy cases; many of us are careful not to drink milk containing cream or butterfat. So my analogy may be unclear to those who have had little experience with milk straight from the cow.
Hopefully, however, you have noticed how often Dawson County residents are chosen to be on state boards or councils or have been commended by organizations representing large groups.
Whether it's Kevin Tanner, Brooke Anderson, Christie Haynes, Mike Berg, emergency services, sheriff's office, school system, local newspapers or young NASCAR racer Chase Elliott, scarcely a week goes by that does not feature a local leader being honored. The cream has risen.
They and many others so honored deserve to be congratulated. Most of the time they are just "doing their job," but obviously they are doing ordinary duties in an extraordinary way and are thus recognized.
But what about the rest of us who also perform duties well? Although an analogy will seldom be parallel at every point, I continue the milk analogy by calling those people the cream which has been homogenized and is blended into the whole.
In fact, almost every honoree will quickly point to a support system. The athlete who becomes an all-star will credit his or her teammates and coaches. Almost no one at the top of a ladder has made it there due solely to his or her own achievements.
The idea for this column started with my realization of how frequently I read or hear of one in our community receiving accolades and I may fail to express the reflected pride we should all feel. And then I thought of the others who daily perform to the best of their abilities but remain unnoticed.
Remember, even skim milk (the top has been skimmed off) contains the necessary nutrients. So what if your softball team or county agency or workplace has not been singled out for special recognition? You are probably providing some necessary services or products for the public or opportunities for those participating. So each of us owes it to ourselves and those around us to do our best.
That makes the whole community (to plagiarize another slogan) "good to the last drop."
Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.