I know this word
It is one of Mothers favourites.
She uses the word volunteer as noun, a thing, and she had four of them.
Her requests would be delivered simply, even pleasantly at times, implying that you had a choice.
“I need a volunteer. Who’s going to help your father outside?”
Honest to god you better be the first to volunteer because she always started with the best jobs. If you thought you could lay low and she’d forget about you or run out of jobs, you thought wrong.
Sometimes she would make it sound as if you had a choice.
“You can do the dishes or you can clean the bathroom.”
This was never really a choice, it was a tactic. A way to funnel us into position. If a volunteer (us children) tried to delay or hesitated with an answer it would only prompt her to say
“Better decide quickly or I will make the decision for you. You won’t like what I decide.”
If someone in the neighborhood needed help. Our mother volunteered us. If someone’s child needed help with homework she volunteered us. Well not really us, just my sister, she’s the smart one. If the school called needing volunteers, no problem she had four.
I remember one particular instance, a family new to our neighborhood and to Canada moved in. The children would be attending our school and did not speak english. So when the school rang, our Mother immediately summoned her volunteers.
“The school needs volunteers. You four are to walk with the new children to school starting Monday.”
Today being Saturday we shrug and say. “Okay, no problem, where do they live?”
She gives us the address and then adds.
“I want you four to go over there right now and welcome them.”
“Right now!” we foolishly whine.
“Yes right now. while you’re at it take some of your toys with you. Lord knows you have entirely too many and those kids just crossed an ocean. I’m willing to bet they have near next to nothing.”
She is using that voice. You know, that tone, the one you would have to be a right fool to talk back to.
I don’t remember missing the toys we gave up, but my siblings and I have always remembered we made great new friends that day.
Thanks for volunteering us Mom.