A write-up about the Women and Girls banquet at the church last evening. It is going to read as if I am writing to my friends Cindy, who couldn’t be there because her daughter was sick, and Carrie, who is under the weather herself.
As sorry as all that is, girls, we did have fun without you…
My whole involvement began last Fall. You see, our church sends out these sheets of paper with the title _Offering Your Gifts_. There are volunteer slots which need to be filled, both ongoing or just a one-time opportunity. On that sheet, 6 months ago, I checked the box which said I would be willing to “help with planning the Women/Girls Event around Mother’s Day”. The other box I checked was to be the Fellowship Class hostess. What a way to get out of having to sit still in church every Sunday. And the speaker system has a feed back to the kitchen, so I can hear just fine while I am measuring coffee.
Since I had been the President of Women’s Fellowship last year, and planned the Christmas party, I thought that just being a Helper for this banquet would be adequate, many months later.
So I waited around for word about the theme, to be given an assignment such as “write placecards and pick up mints”. There were other events at church where I do my regular stint in the kitchen.
After one such occasion, the chairman of the banquet committee called me and said that the Women/Girls Event had been neglected, the other celebrations had been so tiring. There was talk of cancellation because of so little time to plan.
I think I wrote about this part before, but I just couldn’t let that happen. Mothers and daughters look forward to this. In-laws come from out of town. Salads are abundant and the variety is the envy of a catering service. Plus, this is one time when I can get out of the kitchen and let the men take over.
So the phone calls and the email pleas began in earnest. Less than two weeks to think of what to talk about, door prizes, men working in the kitchen, announcements. Then I look at my class syllabus and learn the banquet is the same day as the Chapter 7 test in Algebra. Holy moses, maybe canceling would be best.
However, I began getting feedback. I thought that I could get some help with the program, have other people speak or read something, or sing a little song. Going to Open Mic at the coffee shop taught me that there is joy in sharing the stage. One friend said she had an old letter to read, and that her mother-in-law had been asking about the banquet date this year.
While I was working as a volunteer at the Blood Drive, a lady sitting there with a needle in her arm told me she would be glad to bring her famous homemade yeast rolls to go with the salads. How could anyone pass up that opportunity?
I checked the church kitchen for supplies. I did not see placemats anywhere, and I wanted the bi-fold napkins. Husband took me shopping at SAM’s. We got napkins. We got mints and nuts and jelly and butter. Later, I found placemats and an apron. Doing this part reminded me of my days working at the cafeteria.
I copied a poem from IDEALS magazine to put on the placecards. When Husband saw the little c1986 beside the title, he said that the copyshop would not do the order unless I had a written permission, so he put whiteout over the telltale words. The clerk copied and cut, no problem. Then all I had to do to make them look a bit personal was to put a sticker on the corner. This reminded me of lesson plans for the daycare. When I did the Welcome speech, I explained about where the poem came from. End of legalities, I hope.
The door prizes were hand-knitted dishcloths, which I stuck into mason jars and used as a centerpiece for each table. They looked kinda floppy and colorful. I just couldn’t bring myself to do flowers or plants because hauling them into the building would have my allergies going so that I could not carry on with my intentions.
Setting up the tables was the best part. The kind of behind the scenes, getting to know what it looks like before everyone else. Reminds me of helping my mom and aunt when they were doing the Mother/Daughter banquet in our old church building. I remember putting the silverware just right, and seeing my aunt make a mark on the bottom of just one placemat to tell who got the door prize.
There were helpers for table setting. The church organist came in, all set to practice. I heard her sigh and say that she didn’t really want to turn the thing on, she would be leaving in just a little while anyway. To think such talent gets boring.
She offered to help me in whatever way she could. I handed her the bin of chocomints and said that each placemat should get one. I turned away to do something else. When I looked over, I watched her put one pattie precisely in the upper right corner, with the label reading correctly. I had to bite my lip to keep the grin under wraps. When she was done with all 90 places, I must admit, each table looked so nice.
Then the current Women’s Fellowship president came in. She had a few new knitted dishcloths as possible door prizes. The folks who got these little beauties sure will be pleased. She offered to help with anything. I set her on the task of getting strawberry jam from the jar to the little bowls for each table, a burden I had saved almost until last because of the stickiness. She used a spoon with skill, then went on her way to meet with her sister.
When I left for home to brush my teeth and change clothes, all was Ready.
Gheezsh, 88 lines, and I am only halfway. Gonna get it all done now, while it is fresh in memory. Husband says I was working on it all night because I was very restless. We were both awake at 4:30 in the morning, long before even McDs does breakfast. There’s another tale about the grey light of dawn…maybe I shouldn’t be telling though.
For the banquet, I returned to the Fellowship Hall a bit early, mostly to make sure the guys in the kitchen were clear about their duties. They were a good crew, most have worked these kinds of events in the past. They done real good.
I got to watch the ladies coming in, admiring the setting, getting reacquainted. This, This is what all the work of 12 days had led to. Friends and Fun.
The microphone and I are rarely close companions, although the people who know me all these years say I am getting better with it, up close and personal. Again I say that Open Mic at the coffee house brings fringe benefits.
I said Welcome to the Mother/Daughter/Women/Girls Carry-in Salad Supper. That was enough, and I wanted to just sit down right then, but I had to explain about the knitted dishcloths, and who gets the door prize from the middle of each table, and the way to get in line for the salads and how to sign up for a turn with the microphone. Seemed like I talked alot, and then the opening prayer for the evening and the blessing for the food.
Along about now is when it all whapped me in my heart. Here are all these people and they are together because I couldn’t let go, wouldn’t put one little event aside.
Yes, I had asked for help when I wanted it. Someone ordered and brought in the food for the kitchen workers. Husband helped with the placecards. Chris set the VCR to tape JUDGING AMY (one of these days, I will learn how to work that thing). The church office manager got the reservations list and answered a million questions on the phone. And the Custodian moved tables and arranged chairs until I thought he might need a chiropractor.
This gave me alot of perspective about being the director of a movie, or relief after a hurricane. There are persons trained in management techniques. I am not comfortable here, but by crackies, I love it when a plan comes together.
I must stop typing now. My hands are getting tired, you might have other things to do, and I cannot find the list of names of the ladies who were a part of the program. Probably forgotten in the coat room of the church building.
Catch you up later.
~~love and Huggs, Diane
UPDATE: continue reading about the banquet here:
Speakers at the Banquet.