This picture has nothing to do with my thoughts for today. I included it for anyone who wants to see what I looked like about sixty years ago.
My thoughts today center around a new decision I need to make. There’s no rush on this one, but I owe it to a lot of people – including myself – to give it some serious thought.
I attended a meeting of the Forsyth County Optimist Club yesterday morning. I was the guest of Donnie Culver. Donnie is the eternal optimist who always has a smile on his face and can usually say something to make me laugh.
For example, yesterday he explained how his wife wanted him to be more sensitive. So, when he took the garbage out, he cried.
He also mentioned that he warned his wife that if she ever decided to leave him, he was going to go with her.
Simple statements such as those are guaranteed to bring a smile to many faces.
Donnie wants me to join the Optimist Club. He also wants me to be the guest speaker at their next meeting. Thus, part of my decision making process involves deciding whether or not to accept either invitation.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a joiner. I like belonging to groups… especially those who perform some sort of service for the community. In high school I belonged to the Key Club, which was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. We held several fund raising events each year and donated all our proceeds to various charities. We also attended annual conventions.
One year, three or four of us attended an International convention in Philadelphia. Shortly after we were told not to leave the city limits, we boarded a bus and traveled to Atlantic City. While my friends frolicked on the beach and boardwalk, I rode another bus to Somers Point and visited with my Aunts Josie and Mary.
In college, I joined an educational fraternity, Kappa Delta Phi. While most of our activities centered around kegs of beverages, we did take some time to tutor children at General McLane High School. Of course, when Dr. Luther Hendricks learned what I was doing he said something about ‘the blind leading the blind.’
Later in life I joined the Lions Club. Their main charitable activities centered on the blind. They were proud to tell how Helen Keller had challenged the group to become ‘Knights for the blind’ and the many ways they acted to serve that group of individuals. We held fund raisers and sent the money to the Leader Dog school in Rochester, Michigan, the Lighthouse for the blind – a summer camp in Pennsylvania – and a number of other similar groups. We also collected used eye glasses and sent them off to foreign lands where they could be recycled. Come to think of it, we also encouraged people to donate their eyes when they were no longer needed on this earth.
I also attended a few state and international conventions as a member of the Lions club. As I recall, no one ever told me not to leave the city limits as an adult. It wouldn’t have mattered, I would have wandered off anyway.
My west coast brother used to belong to the Rotary club. I don’t know if he is still a member or not, but I feel that I should investigate what the Rotary club does. I also need to re-examine the Kiwanis club.
Believe it or not, part of the criteria for my decision will be where these groups hold their annual conventions. My bride and I love to travel. If we can go to exotic places with a group of friends, we’d probably look forward to the opportunity… especially if they can get discounted group rates.
More importantly, I want to know how each organization raises money and what they do with it. I don’t want to belong to a group that uses the international banner to justify a social club. I’m not interested in anything other than a service club.
However, I must also be realistic. I already belong to the Christ the King Lutheran church’s Out Reach team, which is similar to the Catholic church’s St. Vincent dePaul. I’m also a board member for Thrivent, which is another Lutheran group that supports mission trips to the Gulf, Habitat for Humanity, and other worthwhile charities. In fact, Thrivent is a big supporter of God’s Global Barnyard – check out the link on the right side of the screen!
At Christ the King, we’re in the midst of raising money for the American Caner Society’s Relay for Life, and, in my spare time, I sing with Nostalgia – a band that entertains senior citizens.
I must face reality. Do I have the time to be a productive member of any service organization?
Over the years I’ve wondered about people who join service clubs, faithfully pay their dues, and never show up for meetings or service activities. Why they do that is a mystery to me. All I can figure is that they join so they have something to write in their resumes and the associations will look good in their obituaries.
For now, my decision will have to stay on the back burner. My thoughts are currently on our annual Irish dinner at Christ the King. This is one of our main fund raisers for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
If you live in the area and would like to attend – your choice of corned beef and cabbage, or Irish stew made with lamb – contact me for ticket information. And if you don’t live in the area, but would like to make a financial contribution, I’ll be glad to hear from you as well.
In the meantime, if you’re familiar with the Lions, Rotary, Optimists, Kiwanis, or any other service club you think I should consider, please let me know.