Monday nights were Knights of Columbus, Ladies Aid, PTA, or Catholic Daughters.
Tuesdays were Township Board.
Wednesdays were religious ed classes.
Thursday nights were School Board or Parish Council.
Friday and Saturday was leg work and socializing.
Sundays were church (choir, usher, and/or serving coffee donuts or a church dinner), MCCL Meetings, and various community events.
That was the schedule my parents kept. In addition to raising five very active kids and running a very labor intense farming operation along with all that goes with it (cooking, cleaning, canning, gardening, etc), they were very active in community.
Dad has served roughly 60 years in the Knights of Columbus, almost 30 years as Pembina Township Clerk, 62 years as church usher, 10 years in the Lions Club.
Mom served about 30 years in Ladies Aid and Catholic Daughters, 15 years in MCCL, numerous years in choir, countless times as room mother, chaperone, and religious ed teacher.
Between them, they served 20 years on the School Board, numerous years on the Parish Council, and volunteered for numerous other events.
This doesn’t count the times spent visiting people in the hospital, the various meals on wheels runs, or the times helping friends and neighbors.
It seems like it is no longer in fashion to do these things. Lions Clubs, Knights of Columbus chapters, Elks Lodges, VFW’s, Legion Halls, Jaycee’s, Ladies Aid – all social and civil organizations are suffering from membership. We get wrapped up in our lives and our daily schedules.
It means fewer and fewer people to do the jobs that many of us take for granted. The meals at most funerals, the carnivals and fairs in our hometowns, blood drives, meals-on-wheels, and other community events are dying – not from lack of need, but from lack of people.
Growing up, there never seemed like there was enough time or enough labor to go around. Sometimes we questioned to ourselves why our parents were always running off to another meeting or another event.
But when the time came when it was our family that needed the help and support of the community, we realized what a difference those nights alone meant. My Mom got sick when I was a junior in high shool. When we were on the receiving end of the visits, the meals, the prayers and the support all through her illness, it really sunk in.
My parents were building a community. But more then that, they were building a life of service dedicated to make the world a little brighter, a little better, for their friends and their neighbors and in turn brightening the world for their children and their children’s children.
That isn’t just building a community…that is building a life.