There was a time at my (Methodist) churches when we regularly stood in line to go kneel at an altar, be served communion, and then hear the minister announce, "Let these retire and others take their places."
We are doing it somewhat differently now: Going to the altar individually (after communion) rather than in groups. But whenever I learn of someone retiring from a public position, I remember that phrase and often wonder what will happen when "others take their places."
Realizing that Dawson County Extension Coordinator Clark Beusse is retiring, I didn't wonder too much about his replacement because I'm not particularly a client anymore. But I was certainly reminded of how helpful he has been over the years serving Dawson County.
When he came here (to Dawson County), Morris and I had a good-sized garden and several fruit trees, as well as doing our own landscaping.
Since we were amateurs at being "low-level" farmers, we needed plenty of advice.
Clark was willing to help.
Sometimes he would "come and look," and always he provided helpful information - verbally and through brochures and his weekly columns.
He never did quite convince Morris to prune as deeply as was probably needed, but he tried. And I shall never forget that, in the year following my husband's death, Clark personally came to our home and did some drastic boxwood pruning, rather than just advising.
Now, of course, I don't garden (shucks, I can't even rake leaves).
I've let most of the fruit trees disintegrate: And I only slightly supervise the little landscaping that gets done.
So I won't miss Clark professionally, but I'm hoping that the Beusse family will remain in Dawson County. They have been great additions to our community.
Regular readers of this column may remember that my last one was entitled "Are you ready for some doing?"
Obviously, this one is continuing that theme. And Beusse is not the only one who has gone above and beyond normal expectations.
For several weeks I have intended to salute Peggy Kinney, who worked tirelessly for years to keep the local AARP chapter alive.
Chartered in the 1990's, not too long after the senior center was built, that unit served a number of useful purposes.
They sponsored several public forums for local candidates, labored many hours packing commodities to be delivered to needy households, contributed annually to the center where their meetings were held, sponsored driver safety courses, and provided monthly programs and fellowship.
As the number of members began to decline, Peggy was instrumental in bringing Warren and Audry Hemline from neighboring Forsyth, who initiated the projects of collecting discount coupons to be distributed to military bases and collecting aluminum tabs for the Ronald MacDonald House.
But last December, when it was obvious that no one would take the top leadership positions, the chapter voted to disband itself and surrender its charter. Peggy certainly deserves a vote of gratitude.
I was delighted to learn how well our Arts Council's Junior Theater group did at the recent Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, especially my young friend, Sean Newman, whom I have followed since his childhood.
Congratulations to Sean, to Colleen, to the group's director Nathan Gerrells, and to the Arts Council for their sponsorship.
Another young person whom I'd like to congratulate and encourage is Chase Elliott, following in father Bill's tire tracks in racing competition.
As I became a Dawson Countian, I also became a NASCAR fan, although I'll admit I prefer watching on television to the loud noise of the track. It looks like our Racing Hall of Fame will be growing.
It also looks like the Arts Council may soon be the recipient of another boost, as Allen Ferg hikes the Appalachian Trail; he is asking friends of the council to pledge monetary donations for each mile he covers.
We will also need to pledge for his fellow hiker, Bob Miller, who is soliciting donations for READ, whose mission is to help those who do not possess needed literacy skills.
Those of us who can't do much can encourage and support those who can and who choose to use their abilities.
Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.