Diagrams and Dancing: An Interview with President Mavis Jarrell

Submitted by: Kennard Balme 

Mavis is the first person I’ve met that didn’t know Daphne Alabama has a history museum. I’m trying to put you en point so in an interview situation my usual opener is, “Do you know the name of the Museum in Daphne?” And if they fail, and I like them, I follow up with the whiskered chestnut, “Okay so who is buried in Lenin’s tomb?” Groucho Marx always used Grant’s tomb, but I’ve see Lenin, wax and all. Mavis knew the answer.

JarrellMavis650Plus she knew lots of other cool stuff. There was an immediate bonding when I discovered she could diagram a sentence, something I learned to do in 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th and 12th grade, only skipping 10th because the new teacher admitted he didn’t “diagram.” Not only did she practice that arcane art, she would write secret poetry all neatly diagrammed and syllable counted with proper diacritical marks accenting the letters. Upon discovering the ümlaut her life of secret poetry became public poetry as her personal confidence grew and she pursued academic credentials with a profound belief that helping others “succeed” was to be her noble calling. Luckily for us, the reader, writing poetry stayed alongside several career paths both paid and volunteer. We tasted Chicken Soup.

I never got a “Please now, don’t blabber that.” How refreshing to have an on-the-record chat.

Mavis was the Treasurer of a Civic Club; tough job collecting money from the Members. I bring up this only to demonstrate a very soft hand in a welder’s glove. My favorite Treasurer of a club I frequented was so frugal he took his penny loafers to the shoe shop to have the heels switched when they were worn on the edges. Pay your dues; the President is counting.

We talked at length about the Pensters organization. Mavis is energized and energized and energized. She loves experiments, ideas, contests that motivate and ballroom dancing. If you show up some Saturday and the room is cleared of tables and chairs, be prepared to exhibit your smokiest Rhumba dance; no minuet for this group. To put the truth on the record, I doubt that dance will mix with Pensters unless it’s some outlandish prose in a short story.

A final appeal: Mavis needs help. To move the center of gravity in any direction but down in an organization is daunting.  Charismatic leadership from a glowing resume tells you that her previous job skills are perfect precursors for guiding Pensters. Just a few areas of opportunity to wrap this project: steady growth, publicity; attraction of younger members, getting Grant dollars and lastly, teaching the Millennials and Gen-Xers to write a complete sentence, maybe even diagrammed.