You would think that with retirement life would get easier, but I’m still doing things that scare me. Case in point, Wednesday night. A couple of weeks earlier I’d received a phone call out of the blue from a man I’d never heard of.
I should be used to this with all the telemarketers trying to be our BFFs. But in this case, the call was from our town’s Rotary Club and even more weird, they were inviting me to come and speak. Since I had forgotten to get my booster shot against flattery, I said yes.
As it turned out, I fell into the category of Local Author. What to talk about? I figured I had about 3 ½ minutes of information about my writing to impart. Fabulous. Now I only had another 26 ½ allotted minutes to fill.
Wednesday night I took a deep breath and entered the local restaurant where the meeting was to be held. As it turned out, that was the most difficult part of the evening. From there on, I was treated like the celebrity I’m not. I received a raffle ticket for that evening’s prize, I was introduced to one kind gentleman after another, and someone magically produced a glass of wine for me.
My tablemates and I had just started chatting when the business of the night steamed into action. We all stood up for the pledge of allegiance and then Walt across the table from me was asked to lead us in song. I opened my mouth, ready with “God Bless America,” but fortunately I didn’t get out a note. Suddenly everyone was belting out “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” a quirky song choice that no one ever did explain.
Then we rolled on to all the other agenda items I remember from my days in similar organizations – finance reports, donation reports, and plans for upcoming events. For many years I belonged to a women educators organization, and I know my way around your basket raffles and split-the-pots, but these fellows had turned money gathering into an art form. There was the raffle for that night’s prize, but if you won that, you had the option of instead trying for something else, which first had to be gained by someone cutting a deck of cards and revealing a particular card. After this, members were obligated to donate a dollar if they had forgotten to don the required Rotary Club badge – a button the size of our bread and butter plates. This was followed by people paying yet another dollar to say what they were particularly happy about that night (wedding anniversary, the Patriot’s NFL record, and so forth).
As it turned out, I had a whale of a good time. I had managed to come up with a topic (a short lesson about some of the categories and characteristics in the murder mystery genre), no one fell asleep, and I remembered how much I had once enjoyed teaching. Not only that, but I had a free dinner and came away with this really nifty pen.
I’ve clearly hit the big time.