Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Serendipitous alleyways

“A committee is a dark alleyway down which ideas are lured and quietly sandbagged.” I don’t remember where I read this quote, only that I came across it as a teenager and it has never seemed more apt than recently. The last few weeks seem to have been comprised of meetings, emails and paperwork while progress seems to have been negligible.

Good news though can be reported – one of the grants that I applied for on behalf of the school has come through so we are $44,000 closer to a new tennis/multi-purpose court. Several of the exchanges have been on that and on “appropriately” recognising the granting body, that is, our about-to-call-an-election-and-keen-for-publicity federal government, for previous grants; others on developing the website for the district; others for various groups in which I am involved. I laugh sometimes when people ask how I fill my days as a (gasp) “stay-at-home mum.” Rather than boringly list the various groups I work with, my writing, research and parenting, I usually tell them that I do the things they pay other people to do, but just don’t get paid for it. That stops the questioning in its tracks.

Today’s meeting however illustrated that wondrous quality of serendipity. In the midst of what had turned into a gossipy moral support gathering, the words, “My grandfather was born in Marburg, Germany” dropped into the conversation. Pouncing, I have extracted a promise to show me the family history book and tell me all the stories this eighty-year old can remember about her grandfather, his journey to Australia and experiences settling into the Rosewood Scrub. Committees and meetings aren’t just dark alleyways. Sometimes they are thoroughfares to other places.

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