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Friday, June 17, 2011

An Unforgettable Dinner Party

I am planning a party for a small group of friends, and I need a  plan. My friends expect that I will create something unique, something with lasting impact...

... BECAUSE it's going to be another Pay It Forward Party. It was a fabulous Dinner Party, Yes it was!

In a few courses, and the course of a few hours, we'll together create a life-changing event for ourselves and others. I just need to think of the framework...

This year I'm thinking about a community garden at the Assisted Living Facility, outside the Alzheimers Unit. And I'm thinking bees, worms, seeds, soil, hours of volunteering to turn the soil, pick up trucks full of loam and chicken wire, and a buffet for the hungry gardeners... So maybe I'll do a brunch sweet and savory, not dinner. Crepes, Blueberry Pancakes, Eggs Benedict, Strawberries dipped in Chocolate...

My friends are prepared to give, and I believe my community is too. I need to make some calls... I'm going to ask for some donations. I think I know who'll give us the loam, and the plants... the folding tables for the buffet...

Last summer, when my eight dinner guests arrived, each of the four couples received $50 and instructions written on leaves of a centerpiece cleverly designed as a giving tree. The money was to help others... in the spirit of fun! I won the money in a rubber duck-over-the-waterfall-race, my number fell first.

So, while eating an exquisite dinner overlooking the lake, we gave thanx for our blessings and discussed ways to "spend" the money. At the end of our meal, we all headed out to town with the sole purpose of having some fun, spreading some joy. It's a flat trail, an easy mile walk down abandoned railroad tracks which have been converted into a bike and hiking trail. We were not out of breath due to exertion, yet there was not much talking. Wheels were spinning... we were almost running... in our hearts and minds.

Once we got to town we scattered. One filled up motorist’s gas tank, one took takeout Chinese to the volunteers at our little fire station, we dropped a load of quarters off at the laundrymat. We gave out $10 bills outside the market, on the sidewalk, and bought snacks for kids at the hot dog stand at Little League Field.  I know that some of my dear friends contributed more of their own money but before the night was over my friends had given more than money. The arborist had made arrangements to look at someone's rotten tree hanging over their roof, I volunteered to do an art project at the Town's summer program for kids, and my dear friend with the pick up truck agreed to pick up a free sofa for a young couple who just needed a way to get it to their first apartment.

We felt so good. It was such a gift for us to be able to go around and play Santa thanx to a rubber duck who bobbed along in a straight line. I think we are probably genetically wired to do good and care for others, the traits of generosity, kindness and compassion are certainly necessary for procreation and group survival. But in the modern world we sometimes miss out on the joy of giving...

We felt good as we connected with people amazed at their good fortune. But the best part of the evening was the walk home, we were laughing, screaming, hooting and hollering in anticipation "of the next time", even before we fully savored the experience and felt the deeper feelings that accompanied the evening. In the rush of good feelings, during that brisk walk, a tradition was born..

So tonite, I am planning this years event. Just remembering the joy, a burst of creativity bubbled up.

It will be an unforgettable sandwich.

May you be inspired!

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