It hadn't happened for many years -- but this October, on the second Tuesday of the month -- Darci Congrove and Jeanne Likins were not at the German Village Society Board meeting.
Both of these smart, creative, dynamic women had concluded their terms on the board of trustees the previous month.
In one of their adjacent homes along Jaeger Street that board meeting night, they opened a bottle of wine (or two) and spent a little time reminiscing. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall.
I can imagine some of the memories Darci and Jeanne -- and maybe a spouse, or both -- were sorting that Tuesday. Tears, joy, struggle, success.
What I remember in my six years of observing these women has been nothing short of transformative for me. Each of them, in their own way, has taken a keen interest and an invested, thoughtful engagement in making me into a better leader.
Theirs is true, servant leadership. They show by example. They get things done -- heck, sometimes you wonder when they come up for air.
But the break they get to take now was well-earned and richly deserved.
Both are Frank Fetch Award winners -- the Society's highest honor.
I missed Jeanne's win in 2004. Even 13 years ago, she had already set the tone in her work ethic, her attention to detail, her constant promotion of the neighborhood and the organization to friends and neighbors, and her willingness to always go the extra mile to make the Society the standard-bearer for a neighborhood known the world over for our preservation leadership and our strength of community.
I've seen her simultaneously write needed policy at the same time she's helping husband, Joseph Flood, dream up their next PreTour dinner extravaganza; check in Monster Bash ticketholders while seeking and interviewing the next set of German Village Society leaders. These seem like broadly different skill sets all, but she does it like breathing.
Darci, too, is an inveterate PreTour dinner host -- pretty right-brained stuff -- while creating and doggedly balancing the Haus und Garten Tour budget with her left brain.
She and her husband, John Pribble, invented Tea 43206 after they went to a tea fundraiser in Connecticut. Darci came back to Ohio after that event and told John: "I can do it better." Those dollars have led to an interpretive signage trail that hits the bricks this month -- a longtime goal of hers.
So if you see me marked absent at the next board meeting, you might check over on Jaeger Street. I hope to crash one of these in-lieu-of-meeting soirees to share with Darci and Jeanne in person how grateful I am -- the community is -- for their long service.
For now, this column will have to do.
German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column .