It’s my distinct pleasure of introducing Delia Clark. By a remarkable coincidence, Delia’s name came up just a couple of days ago.
So I’m sitting at this bar, and I look out the window and see this flying saucer landing. A minute later, this little green creature strides up to the bar.
The bartender is blasé. You know, bartenders these days have seen it all: ministers and rabbis, talking rabbits, the Pope, and even elephants walk up to bars. So the bartender says, “What’ll you have?”
The green creature says, “Take me to your leader.”
The bartender replies, “Listen, Creature, if it’s leaders you want, in a couple of days you can find a room full of leaders at the Top of The Hop. And you’ll find plenty of heroes there, to boot.”
The green creature seems impatient. “Oh, we know all about that Heroes and Leaders Celebration. Delia Clark is going to be there. Don’t let on to anybody, but our kidnapping team is all set to nab her. Her reputation for group facilitation has traveled all the way to Neptune, where I come from. We need her help. Everybody on Neptune is giving everyone else the cold shoulder, and we can’t get anything done.”
At this point, I have to chime in. “Listen, Creature. No way are you stealing Delia. We treasure Delia. I first met her in the 1990s, when we were just forming Upper Valley 2001 and Beyond, the organization that’s now called Vital Communities. Delia became its first executive director. It was Delia’s energetic style that super-charged our organization and got it off to a great start.
“Really, she’s more than a hero and a leader, she draws out others to become leaders. Back in the year 2000, Delia came to the area where I live and helped us organize a big two-day, bi-state community event, where we planned together for the future of Newbury, Bradford, Haverhill and Piermont. Delia stayed behind the scenes, training us locals to take on leadership roles. By the way, out of that event, came the Lower Cohase Chamber of Commerce, conservation groups, and a host of other community-building groups.
The green creature interrupted: “Do you think we don’t know about that? We know everything under the sun, from Mercury right out to Pluto. We can tell you that Delia has brought her vision-to-action model to more than 70 communities, and the handbook she wrote for Vital Communities has been used from Alaska to Eastern Europe and translated into other languages. And that’s not to mention that she started Valley Quest. And you Upper Valley provincials probably don’t know of her years of work in the Florida Everglades, the Boston Harbor National Park or the Alaskan Iditarod Trail.”
“I could go on about Delia, but it’s about time you served me the beer I asked for.”
“You wanted a beer?” asked the bartender.
“Darn right. I asked you to take me your liter: you know, 34 ounces. Did you think I was talking about kombucha? You folks really need to get your act together. Maybe we should forget about kidnapping Delia–you Earthlings need her even more than we do.” And with that the creature swilled down its beer, staggered to the flying saucer and disappeared.