Monday, January 19, 2009

Service Center

This morning I watched the vice-president elect do a little drywall. CNN and various other news-gathering operations were following Joe Biden around as he carefully cut, sawed, and later hung chunks of drywall in a house he was building with Habitat for Humanity. I've done a little drywall, and it takes a good bit of attention to detail so you don't get any massive gaps that have to be filled in later. Joe had a tool belt that hung just enough off of his hip to make me believe that it was probably his, and even if it wasn't, he looked like he could handle a hammer.
That's what Joe the Vice President did for his Day of Service. The Ayatollah of Barack 'n' Rolla spent the morning before he takes the oath of office helping to paint the walls of a dormitory at a temporary shelter in Washington for homeless and runaway youth. His wife was was at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium where she joined hundreds of volunteers under a large tent in filling bags with toiletry items such as suntan lotion and toothpaste intended for U.S. troops overseas. It's not like these folks didn't have other things to do on the eve of Inauguration Day.
That's why I had to cut short my grumbling when my wife suggested that we participate in the second annual Day of Service. My initial response ran somewhere in the range of "I spend all week doing service. Why should I have to do it on my day off?" The answer came in the form of action, not words. The men who are about to lead our country were out getting their hands dirty, even if they had to do it under the glare of the media. I rolled my trash can and recycling bin out onto the street, and with the help of my son, I spent a couple of hours picking up debris that sometimes feels like part of the landscape around here. When we were done, for at least a few blocks, our neighborhood looked clean. Then we took a load of his early childhood books and toys that he and his mother had sorted to a donation center. By mid-afternoon, we felt like we had given something back to our community. It's like the man said, "Everybody's got to pitch in."


Anonymous said...

I wonder if George W. Bush participated in our national day of service? Oh, wait, that's right--he spent the day pardoning more a**holes.


Anonymous said...

W's leaving office tomorrow - that's the greatest possible service he could perform for the country.

Mrs. Id said...