supposed to be the Special Air Service I think? Is that right? It is also the Scattered Authors Society and probably other things as well.
I know that yesterday Nicola Morgan made a comment about getting her balaclava out for the SAS meeting. She meant the Scattered Authors Society of course. I suggested it should be the Serious Alternative Strategy society. Nicola replied with an "of course. Erm...."
I know that the members of this SAS will have a good time together but it will also be about more than a good time. It is about supporting each other.
It is the same about some other groups - or it should be. I belong to three knitting groups. It sounds like a lot but two of them only meet once a month...one in the library, and one in the bookshop. They are small groups. Some people come and go as they need help. There are a few "regulars". As I am the "leader" of both groups - or the "go to" person I see them as a form of community service. I'll teach. I'll help. I also try and make sure that the people who come on a fairly regular basis are not in need of other help.
One of the bookshop group has been going through treatment for cancer. We sent her a card and included a chemo-cap when she started - and had a lovely thank you note back. I sent her a note recently. I haven't heard back. I hope she is making steady progress but I don't know her well enough to feel I can phone her. A note lets her respond if she wants to.
There's someone who occasionally comes to the library group - when she remembers. She had a CBI or "closed brain injury" some years ago. She's loud. She has all sorts of problems. We've tried to include her and she tries to knit - which is all that really matters.
They are just two of the people I know need those groups when they feel they can or when they remember to be there.
But there is someone else who was coming to both groups and she has stopped. We included her. We made her welcome. I thought she liked coming - and so did other people. So, I inquired and received an abrupt, "They're just casual groups. I didn't have to tell you I'm not coming any more."
As I had been including her in group emails about things like a slight change of location or the new times for this year I was startled, taken aback. Yes perhaps they are "casual" groups and perhaps she didn't need to say she wasn't coming anymore but it would seem to be polite to send a message and say something even if it was just "Please take me off your list."
Of course it's up to her whether she continued to come or not. I would have replied to the email myself and anyone else in the group would have done the same thing.
Obviously she feels differently. I wondered as I was sorting out something for another member of the library group whether she recognised these groups as anything more than "some people get together and knit" groups. Did she not see that they were also there to offer some companionship and - more importantly still - support? Did the idea of perhaps having to support someone else - even if it was just a "What do you think this abbreviation means?" - too much for her?
I also thought of Nicola and others heading off to their SAS meeting in high anticipation of not just a good time with friends but the all important support they could give one another. That support is as important, if not more so, than anything else which might happen at an SAS meeting or anywhere else. A good group is also a support group.