The Committee

Missing without a trace

“What would happen, I wonder, if the committee didn’t exist? Surely it would mean that the club would fold, and the land put on the market for redevelopment.”

It was a question – item one on the agenda – of relevance, answered with a statement of fact.

Arthur was a seasoned member of the village bowls club committee, indeed, he had been Chair for many years, breaking all constitutional rules and regulations. And as Chairman, he dressed the part, or so he thought. That tweed jacket had seen better days. He had bought it when he joined the Committee, and 25 years on, it was looking worn out, rather like its owner.

Dwindling membership of the club meant dwindling interest in serving it, but Arthur was a stalwart, and his desire – no, his duty – was to serve the club, possibly to extinction.

“But what of the members?” retorted Sybil in her trademark high pitched voice.

Sybil was equally a stalwart but not quite in Arthur’s league when it came to stating the obvious. She was kindly and well regarded at the local Bridge Club, the sort of person who would bring two cakes on match days, when only one was requested.

“If they can’t be bothered to serve on the Committee then what is the point of them being here?” Arthur responded, rather dismissively.

“What on earth do you mean, old boy?” questioned Major Dingwall, his face purple, the result of too many glasses of Montpulciano d’Abruzzo, the liquid product of a dark, dry Italian grape which he had discovered many years previous on a spring vacation to the Adriatic coast. The holiday was never repeated, but the grape, sadly, was, many times over.

“What I mean, dear boy,” offered Arthur in a weary tone, “is that a membership gets the committee it deserves. If we are voted on to it by people who have no desire to sit on it themselves, then they can’t complain when decisions are taken from which they have excluded themselves.”

“Hear hear,” chimed Maureen Protheroe, the local librarian and an admirer of fiction, the kind that allowed herself to think she and Arthur ‘close’ because of her minute taking abilities. But alas, he wasn’t interested in her, or her books. He only wanted to indulge himself with his futile belief of himself as a man of status in the village.

The only other member, Michael Blackwell, was a polite boy who offered little to the Committee. It was as if the meetings were his social life. There was a nice young girl who came on board last year, and Maureen thought that Michael might have joined so that he might get to know her a little, but in the event, she rarely turned up for meetings, much to the disgruntlement of Arthur. After missing three in a row, she was assumed ‘manquant sans trace.’

It would seem that the club – and its Committee – was heading in the same direction.

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