“I don’t live in Grundy.”
That was usually my response when someone would ask if I’d join the Grundy Woman’s Club. Of course, they’d always tell me how the club was more than just a town-oriented organization, how it includes people from all over Buchanan County and beyond. But some part of me fought with the idea of joining a club with the same name as the football team I hated growing up.
No thanks, Golden Waves. Tiger pride, sucka!
Working at the local newspaper, I knew the Grundy Woman’s Club better than most people. I edited their submissions to the paper a lot over the years and many times had the job of contacting one of their members to get information for their report in the newspaper’s annual Progress Edition. Despite all that, however, I don’t think I really understood the Grundy Woman’s Club until I finally joined in the spring of 2014.
That day, I remember Tania Stephens telling me she noticed I wrote ‘autism awareness’ on the blank of my membership form for special interests. “If you want to do something, just let us know and we’ll support you,” she had said that day.
Eye roll. Suuuuure. You know, you’ve already got me, right? You don’t need to say more stuff to get me to join. Hello? Already signed the paper, lady.
Nothing more was said until a few months later when Eilene Eugenio came to me, asking what I wanted to do for Autism Awareness Month in April the next year.
Um, what? Well, that’s new. Wait… Ooookay, I see what you’re doing there. More polite blowing of smoke in my face to make me feel like an actual member instead of someone who just pays ten bucks to eat dinner with you every month. Gotcha.
We talk about ‘lighting it up blue’ and Eilene suggests holding a 5K to raise money for a local nonprofit group that benefits kids with special needs in Buchanan County. She seems all genuine, really keeping her game face on, while I meander around the conversation apathetically.
Do it, don’t do it. Whatever. I’m not buying. Do you realize how often I encounter this faux interest in my kid? I deal with politicians, chick. I know how concerned people can seem before the rubber hits the pavement and I’m left to do everything.
By the time April rolled around, I realized Eilene wasn’t fooling around. She organized everything for the 5K, had t-shirts designed for all the participants, designed logos, ordered a boatload of blue bulbs, asked me to write a bunch of stories for the paper to get people interested… Then, Tania asked me to write up a proclamation we could present to the Buchanan County Board of Supervisors.
Holy cow. These chicks are for real. They’re not blowing smoke. They’re not leaving me to hold the bag while they take the credit. They’re really interested in helping, in helping people understand why my kid throws tantrums in the grocery store or won’t return their ‘hello.’
In the year 2015, I realized I didn’t know as much about the Grundy Woman’s Club as I’d thought I did. And I can’t wait to see what the year 2016 is going to bring.