Service to AML
A volunteer organization can only survive if people of uncommon dedication give their time to it. But for an organization to thrive, other qualities are needed: good humor, patience, organizational skill, and an uncommon devotion to the organization’s ideals. The Association for Mormon Letters is blessed with just such a profusion of riches, in the person of AML secretary, Darlene Young.
Darlene is our secretary, of course. She keeps the minutes, she keeps the Presidency and the board on task, and she gently encourages us when we falter. But the best descriptor of Darlene is, she’s a writer. She’s a real writer, a thoughtful, smart poet and critic. And minutes keeper. Her minutes are a joy to read, and like the weavers of a Navajo rug, she makes a deliberate, diabolically clever mistake every time.
In writing this tribute, it’s difficult to describe everything Darlene means to AML. Adjectives like ‘patient’ and ‘funny’, and ‘smart’ hardly do her justice. Perhaps it’s best to simply allow her to speak for herself. Here, then, is the text to what some of us regard as one of the five finest poems ever written by a Mormon about Mormons.
Angels of Mercy
The Seventh Ward Relief Society
presidency argued long and soft
whether Janie Goodmansen deserved
to have the sisters bring her family meals.
It seems that precedent was vague—
no one was sure if “boob job” qualified
as a legitimate call for aid.
Janie herself had never asked for help—
a fault they found it harder to forgive
even than the vanity behind
the worldliness of D-cup ambition.
But in the end charity did not fail.
The sisters marched on in grim duty
each evening clutching covered casseroles
(for, after all, it wasn’t the children’s fault).
More than once, though, by some oversight
the dessert came out a little short, as if
by some consensus they all knew
that Janie’s husband, Jim, could do
without a piece of pie that night.
And so, for her poetry, her blog posts, her courage and devotion, and for almost single-handedly keeping AML alive for the last ten years, the Association for Mormon Letters is pleased to honor Darlene L. Young.