The Clean Water Blog

Summer Sunset

Why I was glad to answer the phone

If you’ve been a Clean Water Action member for a while, chances are you’ve had someone stop by your home (pre-pandemic) or call you on the phone at some point. In fact, many of our members think of us first as “the people who knock on my door or call me.” You know first-hand we do this because talking to people one on one a great way to connect with folks and get things done together.

How this works during a pandemic is obviously different.

As part of the team that helps put together the letters and emails we send to our members, I’m also fortunate to get the occasional phone call from someone with a question, concern or compliment.

I got one of those calls from a Clean Water Action member this morning. She had just gotten one of our “yellow envelope” mailings for renewing members. She was used to the door knocks but this was the first letter she recalled seeing from us. She was wondering, are those “nice college kids” who used to come by her house actually legit?

I thanked her for her past support, and reassured her that, yes, the folks with the Clean Water Action clipboards and materials were from Clean Water Action – though not recently, with the door-to-door canvassing on temporary hiatus due to pandemic concerns. I told her she’s always welcome to call or visit the web site listed on our materials to confirm.

She said she would make sure none of those Clean Water Action canvassers would leave her door without a drink of water or a snack, in addition to a donation. I thanked her again, and said that as a former canvasser, myself, I was especially grateful. People are usually nice, but the members like her who go out of their way to be extra welcoming were among the things that makes it all worthwhile.

“I’m turning 83 ½ years told tomorrow,” she told me. “Now that I’ve reached this age I celebrate everything in half-years.” I wished her a big “Happy Birthday.” She went on to share some stories about her grandchildren and great grandchildren, who are a big part of the reason she supports Clean Water Action. I told her about our new grandson who just celebrated his first birthday.

She said it was sad that the coronavirus pandemic may have changed things so much that a lot of the what we have experienced in the past may not be the same at all for the coming generations. But despite these challenges, she’s feeling very positive about the future, because of how smart and passionate those younger children are these days. “So much smarter that we were at their age,” she explained. “They know what they’re doing, they are innocent and hopeful. They’ll end up taking care of the rest of us soon enough, and we’ll be in good hands.”

I thanked her again for her call, and we said our good-byes. I was reminded of a song by the late Bill Withers, called “Grandma’s Hands,” about the wisdom and love of his family’s elders. I was really glad I answered that phone call this morning and grateful for the opportunity to have shared those few minutes with her.