April 2015: Tom Doyal
When chapter President Jim Harp invited me to speak my mind in his own column this month, I was startled. I said yes because the task seemed a long way off. Now, the moment is at hand and I find I need to dig deep into my more than twenty years of membership in Prime Timers Austin for a message of merit. I have seen lots of changes in our chapter!
The connections provided me by Prime Timers have been important. During that time I have found friends who have largely shared my experiences, especially the emergence of a more liberating idea of how to be my authentic self. The very idea that I was not alone or even isolated in my personal journey was gratifying. Spending time at monthly meetings and on social occasions with other men who knew the terrain kept me grounded and reassured.
I have great memories of Prime Timers over the years. In the early years, I served with our Founder, Woody Baldwin, on the Program Committee three or four times. I saw Jim Davis preside over meetings and reminisced with Clarence Williams about a certain youth of our mutual acquaintance. I went places and saw things I might never have experienced had someone not made the effort to schedule and arrange them: a tour of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; a
docent-led tour of the Blanton’s art collection; not to mention all those evenings of theater. Left to my own devices, I may well have missed them all!
As I begin my service on the Board, I invite everyone to be a part of continuing the vitality and service that Prime Timers has been and to extend those qualities into the future.
I hear talk of a new effort at offering participation in a book club (more on this later). I have wondered what level of interest there might be in learning how to write memoirs. Our group has such a vast fund of experiences to draw on and those pieces of history will be lost if we do not capture them.
Above all, I want to say thank you to Prime Timers Austin for being such a wonderful haven for me and my kind over the last twenty years.