Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Love Story

The Girlfriends usually get together on a Friday evening, for end-of-the-week-time-to-catch-up socializing. On some evenings it is a simple meal, perhaps of pizza and beverages; on another night, it might be a more formal meal, seated around the table with the good linen and china out. They might discuss a book, or a movie; they might watch a DVD and reflect afterwards on what they had seen or heard.

One Friday evening around Christmas, they got to talking about that special season, of family and loved ones, good friends, of the community in they lived, and their appreciation of all their blessings. They were grateful for the way in which the community leaders, including the churches, looked after those for whom Christmas was not a good season, and for their ability to be generous in sharing with others. Then, the conversation took an interesting turn. What about after Christmas? What about after all the churches and the goodhearted folks put away the Christmas baskets and the mitten trees? What about after the stories in the newspaper ended - the ones of the family who had lost everything in a fire; the veteran who needed a new wheelchair? What then?

Well, that's when an idea began to take shape. And as they talked, and wondered; and then talked, and dreamed, it all began to take shape. They would do something around Valentine's Day, after all that's about love and caring. So, one talked to another, and then someone else talked to the local police chief who said who knew of plenty of families who needed help, and he could get that help to those families.

So, after planning and wondering and worrying and hoping, the Valentine's Day tea party was planned. Friends and neighbors would be invited, and it wouldn't just be a 'store-bought' party. Everything was made and cooked by hand; crystal and china were used instead of paper plates and styrofoam cups; extra chairs (and more extra chairs) were carried into the house. So many people were invited, and so many responded, that they actually had to arrange for two separate tea parties, one right after the other, to accomodate everyone.

Each guest was simply asked to bring a gift to share - a card for $20 or so from local grocery store or some such, which could be shared with folks who weren't able as fortunate as these folks were. A whole bunch of folks gathered, and ate, and talked, and enjoyed the company of one another; and those who couldn't make it, sent the gift card or dropped it off before or after the party.

And at the end of the day, after all the cooking and cleaning, the baking and pouring, the chatting and the fellowship, over $2500 (and still counting) was delivered to the police chief,

gifts of love from the heart, all because of the compassionate hearts of the Girlfriends.

(c) 2009 Thom M. Shuman

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