In “The burdens of officeI recalled my inglorious tenure as president of Springfield High School’s Interact (a combination of  “international” and “action”) Club in the 1960s. Two or three things might be said.

In the rush to make deadline, I left out something important. I wrote how membership in the club was supposed to teach us “the importance of 1) developing leadership skills and personal integrity, 2) demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others, 3) understanding the value of individual responsibility and hard work and 4) advancing international understanding and goodwill.” What I didn’t write was that my fellow clubmen seemed to already have loads of leadership skills, personal integrity and individual responsibility. They didn't the club for that, and but the club president needed them, and they achieved on their own whatever success we had as a group. 

I also mentioned Interact’s immediate past president. Charlie – now Charles – Blanchard came closer to living the Interact (a combination of  “international” and “action”) creed of service above self. Now a master hand weaver ensconced in a Narrowsburg, New York studio, his work borrows from (in his words) “the delicate grass weavings and dance mats of West Africa, the bold colors and designs of cotton dhurries of India and the exotic geometric patterns of Nepalese and Tibetan prayer rugs, among other influences.” And if adding beauty to the world isn’t service, I’d like to know what is. 

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