Who Will Do The Work?

Oh Casey would waltz with a strawberry blond
And the band played on . . . .
His brain was so loaded, it nearly exploded . . .
— A song from the 1890’s

I don’t know which is worse: to stare at my computer screen’s tabula rasa (blank slate), trying to dredge up a topic or to have too many ideas.
My brain is so overloaded with possibilities that it’s boggled. I shall continue some columns and write others about subjects that have recently popped up. Fortunately, my dear publishers don’t seem to mind when I bounce back and forth between topics. Life’s journey frequently diverges into interesting memories or byways that pop up around each bend in the road.
During recent years, rapid, quantum changes have occurred in the way Americans live because of the Internet, social media and fancy telephones. It strikes me that many people are withdrawing into cocoons of virtual reality, rather than face-to-face contact and direct involvement outside their homes.
Facebook, the wonderful telephones and iPads enable people to keep in touch and send photos of their activities through cyber space with the flick of a finger. You’re never too old to learn. If you know how to type, buy a laptop and install e-mail. It’s easy, and it helps you keep in touch with friends and relatives.
I use the word processor for writing and the Internet for research, banking, making hotel reservations etc. In addition to books, I have bought bras and many Christmas presents through Amazon, and my annual fee for Amazon Prime includes free postage and delivery in 48 hours.
One of my grandsons and his wife gave me an iPad for Christmas and dragged me more deeply into modern technology. I’m still exploring its many possibilities, such as Face Time where we can see and hear Chris, Tasha and my baby great-granddaughter. I even pulled up pictures of hotels where we stayed in Paris. They set up a Scrabble game that I play with various people which threatens to become addictive and gobble up too much time.
However, all of these technological marvels require a serious investment of time. Membership in various organizations is declining, and it is becoming more and more difficult to find volunteers as people age or stay at home. Many organizations can’t rely on donations and membership fees to stay afloat.
Who will do the work of philanthropic and community organizations and government in the future as volunteers age or withdraw? The wonderful Erma Bombeck wrote, “Volunteers are like yachts. If you have to ask their price, you can’t afford one.”
One of those volunteers, Linda Hudson who was the Manager of Irvington’s beloved Benton House, is beyond price. She understands that hosting or attending events in this lovely, historic house is a unique experience that usually be found usually only in the pages of history books or in museums with signs saying “Do not touch.”
She has retired after many years during which she received only a modest honorarium for myriad, time-consuming responsibilities including meeting with renters, placating nervous brides, and checking on the house after events.
In the future, who will do the work of the Benton House?
Knightstown’s Sarah Ward exemplifies a lifetime of volunteerism. She has been the local, state, national and international President of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. Her special interest is to reduce Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. A talented musician, she is a devoted member of her church. She worked to help save the historic Knightstown Academy from being razed.
Currently, she is the President of the Knightstown Town Council. She and her fellow councilors constantly deal with difficult and sometimes contentious issues for very little recompense. Surely she is an outstanding citizen of this or any year. What will become of the town’s government where citizens have a direct voice and role?
If you have to ask the worth of Linda, Sarah and other volunteers, you can’t afford them. wclarke@comcast.net