John's Jottings

118. Working Away - April 2016

Posted on April 1, 2016 at 10:25 AM

The other week Bill had been over to the Church Upton club. He heard the story of how members had been complaining that one of their number was slacking. He didn’t attend many meetings. And for those he did get to, he was often late arriving and left early. They thought his involvement was so half-hearted that he was hardly worth bothering about.


Now the fellow ran a business and was often away from home, hence his poor attendance record. What they failed to realise was that he ran the club’s website, compiled the exhibition guide, and wrote and posted the press notices. He often did this from hotel rooms across the globe. He relied on a friend who attended most club meetings to keep him up-to-date.


His friend Gavin was assiduous in garnering and forwarding information. But none of the other club members realised his role. They poked fun at his incessant questions, and meticulous noting and checking of information. The website was always up-to-date, the show was always listed in the magazines, and the masters for the show guide always appeared in good time ready for printing, so nobody thought about how this happy state of affairs came about.


However, Gavin had been taken ill and the flow of information and photos had stopped. The itinerant member had asked the club secretary for the latest news, but he didn’t reply. The secretary considered that if the chap really wanted to know he should start to attend meetings. The itinerant member asked the show manager and the chairman, but got no reply from either. He wasn’t on the show committee, so why should they tell him?


Some time later, a club member complained that the website wasn’t up-to-date. Another reported that the draft copy for the show guide had not appeared. A third said the magazine listing for their show was incomplete. Other members agreed this was a disgraceful state of affairs. But they didn’t know who to blame. The club officers couldn’t tell them. Even the show manager was unsure. For the past decade or more, all three things had just happened, and always in time, so nobody had bothered to find out exactly who or how this had been done. After all, if everything was working satisfactorily, why bother? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


Then the itinerant members turned up at a meeting. He listened to the mutterings, but said not a word. Questions were asked after The Announcements had been made. With the show fast approaching it was important that something was done. Then the itinerant member broke his silence.


“For all these years I’ve been getting on with the tasks that were given to me at an AGM way back in the last millennium,” he said. “Since there have been no complaints, I presume that I’ve been discharging them to the complete satisfaction of you, the club members.”


The members looked at each other with disbelief. They couldn’t remember that far back. Many had not been members long enough to know of the appointment. There was no mention of it in the current list of office-holders.


“Of course, I couldn’t have done this without the help of Gavin,” he added. “He’s done a great job keeping me informed. Didn’t you realise why he kept asking questions?”


“It all goes to show,” our club chairman observed, “That the most significant contributors to a society are not always those that attend the most meetings, or talk the most noisily, or complain the most bitterly. It’s usually those that do a job so well and quietly that nobody notices.” And we all agreed with that sentiment.


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