What do you get when you toss music, laughter, hugs and even a little dancing together in a crowded basement?
You get strangers becoming friends in the time span of a few minutes. You get that ‘good feeling.’ And, most importantly, you get what you had hoped for.
A really good party!
Well, that’s what happened to me last month when, once again, against all odds, I went ahead with what has become my annual MS party/fundraiser. It was supposed to be in the backyard. Actually, it’s always been in my backyard because of the vision.
I was getting ready for work one morning when I had “said vision.”
Always a cheerful, optimistic sort when sunlight bounces off my walls and my coffee is steamy hot and delicious, I had visualized such a party. There would be laughter, there would be fun, and mostly there would be people filling my backyard with the energy that marks the difference between a really good party and a “so/so” type party.
And because the dark cloud of multiple sclerosis has hovered over my family, not once, but twice, I was determined I would somehow find a silver lining to help not only us, but others who know all about that particular dark cloud.
A fundraiser. I would turn my party into a fundraiser.
One of the lovely blessings in my life is a sister who is quick to pick up my little mustard seeds of faith and help me nurture them into something wonderful. So when I told her about my vision, she immediately came up with an idea of a silent auction.
Viola! The party/fundraiser became more than vision. It became a reality. However, this year it not only rained on my vision, it poured.
In fact, the weatherman did not predict a 60 per cent or a 70 per cent chance of rain. He simply said, “rain.”
And rain it did.
But, still, in spite of my absolute terror that the rain would dissolve everyone’s desire to be one of the actors in my real life play of ms party/fundraiser because of the necessity of changing the venue, it made no difference.
People came to my front door, shaking off their umbrellas, and bringing their smiles and their energy.
And when my basement became so crowded no one could literally move and the musician had to be relegated to a tiny corner where people wouldn’t keep tripping over his equipment, my heart stood still, not in gratitude, but in terror.
“Oh, no,” I railed at myself. “What have I done?” I can’t offer people chairs. I can’t make sure they have a drink. I can’t be a proper hostess at all!
But, people, bless their hearts, obviously didn’t seem to need a proper hostess, but proceeded to do what everyone does best at a party. Just have fun.
And so I picked up my youngest grandson, Jacob, who, at a year and a half, is still baby enough to let me wrap my arms around him, poured myself a delightful glass of bubbly red, and danced with him to the ageless sounds of rock ‘n roll. And, finally, I started to enjoy my own party.
It’s over now. And, once again, we raised a few dollars for multiple sclerosis, a disease that has touched many of us, with fingers of dread and trepidation.
But mostly, we accomplished something else. We reminded each other that the threads of friendship may get frayed and torn slightly, but only need a bit of mending now and then, to become as strong as ever.
And a party/fundraiser is an excellent mending tool!
Treena Mielke is editor of The Rimbey Review and is a columnist for Black Press.