“You must know half the people in Dawson County,” friends have often remarked. “Every where we go, you are greeting someone.”
It is such a common comment that I decided to trace my whereabouts for a couple of weeks to analyze the observation. So this is just a personal column; you are forewarned, you can just quit reading now.
The answer is fairly simple: I belong to a number of organizations, made up of different individuals, and I have been part of some of them since their beginning. Although my own family is small, I have a good number of in-laws, and Morris’s family has always accepted me as one of their own.
Outside of family, my core group is church and that includes several small groups. My relatives, however, are not part of my church family, although I am sometimes part of theirs.
Years ago, Dawson County had a ministerial association, which sponsored 5th Sunday Night joint services, and I made friends with a number of people from those churches. So the circles widen.
The fact that my husband was a “returning native” when we chose to make this our retirement home and the fact that we were able to retire while we were still in fairly good physical (and hopefully, mental) condition allowed us to become active in a variety of endeavors as the county grew and expanded after we made this our permanent home in 1982.
In the same way that we planted, tended and harvested our vegetable garden, so did Dawson County plant and tend many organizations. And the Taylors were somehow involved in several of those from the beginning.
Although widowed now for seven years and greatly curtailed by my 85 years, I am still somewhat involved in most of them. I see all that as I trace steps and greet friends old and new.
For example ...
When the local Retired Educators Association was formed, I was invited to join even though none of my teaching career was in Dawson County (incidentally, any retired educator is still invited) and at their most recent meeting, I could still be found making pictures for the newspapers.
A few of those retired educators also belong to the AARP chapter, of which I was also a charter member, and now the two groups have a joint Christmas party.
When I attend the monthly Senior Breakfast at The Father’s House, I share Sunnyside’s music with friends from both the above groups, as well as from church.
Actually, it would be great if more friends from both groups shared in the Historical and Genealogical Society; for many of them, Dawson County contains much of their history and genealogy. That organization was also one I helped initiate.
Woman’s Club was in its infancy when I became a member, but already a vital force. It has continued so as it has steadily grown.
Its consistently effective leadership allows this senior member to continue to participate without working so hard.
Many of the Dawson County Woman’s Club are board members of the Arts Council (another group of which I was a charter member) and are very active in planning and executing activities, which I now enjoy just attending in the unique and delightful Bowen Center (knowing that I did help to make that transformation possible).
It’s the ubiquitous Woman’s Club that sent me to the GED Recognition Reception to present their annual scholarship to a GED graduate.
And there I visited with members of the Lions Club, READ board, individual presenters and volunteers who teach and tutor at the Adult Literacy Center. (That literacy program itself is a success story that I love to talk about.)
I didn’t find many “cross-references” at the Democratic Committee’s summer-fun party, which reminds me that I have certainly seen an almost 360-degree turn on the political front since I became a Dawson County voter.
At the League of Women Voters annual meeting, however, I shared tables with friends from both political camps.
It may seem strange that with no business connections, I used to be a fixture at Chamber of Commerce events; that is because Morris and I helped to start the Ambassador Program. And I still love to meet and greet at Business After Hours functions.
So it is that when I stop in a local eatery or push a grocery cart, I exchange greetings with all sorts of former (and I hope present) friends from those and other groups. And that’s a blessing.
Helen Taylor’s column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.