Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wednesday Oct 31 Depressed volunteers

We have a lady who has done a tremendous amount of work for Primo. She addressed - and stamped, with stamps she had bought - dozens of postcards. 

She said she would address more. I didn't expect her to pay for stamps, but just having her do the tedious, time-consuming work of addressing them was such a relief. If I had to address all the postcards - there were three other volunteers addressing, as well, I would not have time to sleep.

I emailed her a few days ago to ask if Primo could pick up her last batch of cards. "We need to get them in the mail by Thursday," I wrote.

She didn't answer. Didn't answer. Didn't answer.

I emailed again. I called. I hate to nag. I especially hate to nag someone who is doing me a favor, but the postcards had to get in the mail in time to get delivered before the election.

She finally wrote back. She had been in a blue funk, she explained, because her grandson joined the army paratroopers and was about to be deployed to Afghanistan.

That would worry anyone.

Then she went on to say that she was so disappointed in his decision to join the military and that now, he appeared to be disenchanted as well, so maybe he would get out.

All I said was I hoped for his safe return home.

What I did not say - because it was not my place and it was not relevant and I sure wasn't going to change her mind - was that there is nothing wrong with joining the US military. That it was not something shameful. Shameful is willing to live with all the benefits of our country without being willing to make any of the sacrifice to maintain them. Not that I think the war in Afghanistan is necessary for American freedom. That is a legitimate point to debate. But her dismay seemed to be with the military overall, not the war in Afghanistan.

But so what? She would be justifiably upset even if her grandson were going to fight a war we could all agree is righteous. Nobody wants a loved one to go to war. It just hit me a tiny little bit the wrong way. But then I slammed it back because this lady is a volunteer who has helped just because she likes Primo. I am grateful for that. It doesn't matter if she and I disagree on the role of the military and who should be in it.

She said she could drop the postcards off at our house.

She did.

I pulled them out to inspect them.

She had done only one of the six walk lists Primo had given her.

Which was disappointing, because I thought she was going to finish the entire stack. Indeed, when she wrote that she was done, I thought she meant she had done all of them.

And then I started looking more closely. Primo and I had made a mistake. We had included a walk list for which postcards had already been done.

And that was the only walk list she did.

Which meant we had two dozen duplicates.

And five walk lists undone.

I guess I would rather have known five days ago that she wasn't going to be able to finish. But what can you say? Nothing. She is a volunteer who has been helpful and generous. You just swallow and think, "Next time, I will have to figure out how to prevent this."