A Shot on TV

Brandon and Maggie in Hawaii back in the day…..

Last week I recorded an episode of Hawaii Five – O to catch a glimpse of one of Maggie’s best friends, and my favorite people, who had landed a part as a villain.  Brandon was more than just one of her closest friends when we lived in Mililani.  He seemed to always be at our house and was essentially part of our family, our Ohana.  And, even though we left Oahu more than twenty years ago, the bonds were formed there remain strong.

So, the opportunity to see my little Brandon take his shot on network TV was something I wasn’t going to miss.  He’d let us know that he was only in the last few minutes of the show, so I bypassed the beginning and fast forwarded up to the point when Brandon made his entrance.

There is no question that his character was a dark soul.  He lived in a remote cabin in the woods where he was holding a young woman captive.  The scene started with a lone female law officer entering the home, gun drawn, looking for the girl.  After finding her and beginning their escape, they encountered the villain, played by Brandon in the kitchen.  I don’t remember what happened to the officer’s gun, but a scuffle ensued and she began hurling pots and pans at Brandon, several hitting him.  I have to admit, it upset me to see my little Brandon being attacked, even if he was the “bad guy”.

After briefly stunning their attacker, the woman retreated to a back bedroom where they attempted to barricade themselves but Brandon got there before the door could be shut and inserted his foot in the door jamb.  A close-up of his face revealed sinister intent.

Then, as if the cavalry had been called, Steve MacGarrett and the Five-O crew busted in and in an instant, shot Brandon’s character in the back, killing him as if he were a rabid dog.  He crumpled to the floor and the woman were safe.

At first I thought I found this scene disturbing because even though it was a television program, it was my Brandon that was lying in a crumpled heap on the floor.  But then I began to ask myself if this could have really happened this way with no repercussions to the police officer involved.  Would an officer really simply shoot an unarmed person in the back as the first attempt to subdue them?  There was no evidence that Brandon’s character was armed and Steve was not alone.  Surely the group of them could have taken one bad guy down without taking a kill shot.

I know Hawaii-Five-O is only a television program and the details are probably as factual as most of the other dramas – taking advantage of the poetic license.   But I also know that many people who watch these programs believe what they see and when a “good guy” like Steve MacGarrett shoots a bad guy seemingly without taking the time to consider an option, and the crowd cheers, what does that say about us as a people?

I’m glad I got to see Brandon’s debut on network television but in a way I’m also glad he won’t be a recurring character because I don’t think I could stand watching any more.

Love you Brandon!

 

Sunday afternoons in the winter provide the perfect opportunity for Dave and I to rest up from one busy week and get charged for the next.  When the sky is gray, we take full advantage by curling up beside each other on the couch and watch TV.

Yesterday afternoon we watched in hopeful anticipation as our VA Cavaliers led the Villanova Wildcats through the entire first three-quarters of their out of conference match in Philadelphia.  Dominating in both shooting and defense, victory seemed a slam dunk.  Then, somewhere in the middle of the second half, Villanova found their stride and ended up winning the game by two points.  We were disappointed by our team’s loss but in the end, it is only a game, our guys played well and we look forward to the next one.

Later in the day the national news was full of the latest round of protesters demonstrating their disapproval of the new government administration’s policy direction change from the status quo.  It seems every day new groups are taking to the street in cities not only in this country but worldwide, voicing their dissatisfaction in our new president.  As the dots began to connect in my brain I realized that this fall’s election was a lot like the game we saw earlier in the day.  Our candidate was leading in the polls throughout the race but in the end, lost the election.  My reaction to that loss was not so philosophical…..

But elections are not like basketball games.  Just because you lose an election, doesn’t mean you go home and wait until the next one to cast your vote.  Active participation as a citizen in this country means you know who what the issues are, who your representatives are and when you disagree with the course your government is taking, you speak out.  You are not a crybaby.  You are not a sore loser.  You are actively participating in the narrative.

As Americans were are afforded the right to speak out for and against issues that move us to do so. The First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to do so, and with as much if not more merit than the Second Amendment allows us to own a gun. After all, it was included in the First Amendment.

Despite how you might feel about the agenda of any group,  Americans are  guaranteed the right to free and peaceable assembly.  While that may include happy events like parade and picnics, it also includes ugly assemblies of unhappy people (and nasty women) in an effort to provide a visual display of their desire to be heard by those elected to represent them. They also become a rallying point for others to join in.

Social media sites like Facebook have quickly become a platform for people to share their thoughts and fears and based on recent postings, there are some who would rather be spared from the dialog. (Which can be easy done in Preferences.)  After all, the internet is where we congregate these days.  For a while I agreed, it would be nice to live in a world of cute kitten videos and yummy recipes; which I think if Marx were alive today, he might also call the opiate of the people.

If I could change one thing about the social media dialogue, it would be that people shared more about what they actually thought rather than merely sharing memes without doing the fact checking first.   It is that false narrative that irritates me, not someone else’s differing opinion.  If the information on which you base your opinion is untrue, doesn’t that shake your stance or at least suggest your should do some research?

Bottom line is I believe the dialogue is necessary, as long as it’s done with facts: real facts, not alternative facts.  We need to approach dissenting opinions with sincere respect, open to listen, not merely preparing our rebuttal while someone else in talking.  Frankly it’s a challenge I find myself failing at regularly.  But I believe it is just as worthy a challenge to exercise and work at as my dreaded dead lifts.

 

Staying Balanced

In the more than five years since I began my twice weekly workout sessions with my trainer, Lorenzo, I have been given many challenges, both physical and mental to accomplish the tasks offered on any given day.   It has been work, transforming my well-developed couch potato body and mind into one with athletic intent.

I have come a long way, no longer intimidated by the people or equipment of the gym.  I have mastered many tasks like crunches, curls, and squats and am working at improving my planks and push-ups.  For the most part I am achieving things I never thought I’d be able to do except for one thing; balance myself on one foot.

This morning’s routine for example included thirteen reps each of standing lunges, kettle bell squats, push-ups (full extension – not on my knees), superman quads, and a one minute plank followed by thirteen dreaded dead-drop one leg lifts.

If you’re not familiar with a dead-drop lift, the goal is to bend over at the waist, lifting up one leg up and back while reaching down to pick up cones set on the floor in front of you.  Ideally your hands should touch the cones as your outstretched leg is at its furthest point out.  Then, as your leg returns to the ground you return to the full standing position.  Sounds easy, right? (Try it and see.)

Right now, this exercise is the most challenging thing I am asked to do in the gym.  And, it seems that no matter how I try to focus, as soon as I bend over, my leg begins to wobble and although I may execute the movement, it definitely lacks the control and grace it should.  Occasionally, one will be pretty good and I think I’ve mastered the movement, then on the following one my ankle gives way.  Looking back, I think I even did better with this the last time it was a part of my routine weeks ago.  Working to keep balance can be very frustrating.

I suppose I could make excuses on why my particular physical construction makes the dead drop lift an impossibility for me, but that would require the use of alternative facts. And although I might convince someone else that I am physically unable to perform the exercise, I would be hurting myself by not trying and possibly giving others an excuse to not even try.

The thing is, I’m not going to give up on it just because it’s hard or frustrating or uncomfortable because the fact is that these dead drop lifts are really important exercises to my over all well-being.  Like it or not my body is aging and gravity it taking its toll.  I need to work harder at keeping myself in control of each and every muscle to insure I am able to continue to fight the forces of gravity and remain upright when I choose to.

 

 

 

In the Tinkling of the Dishwasher

Our very first Christmas Tree

Last night after dinner as I went into the living room to turn the tree lights on before plopping in front of the tv for a few hours, I made a quick change of plans and decided to join Izzie for a few moments of quiet instead. She was curled in tight ball on the back of the couch; her usual evening perch.  I sat down and let my head rest next to her.  As I did, she stretched a bit to gain greater contact with my face and hair, and turned her head a bit to nuzzle me.  Together we admired the Christmas tree while Dave finished tidying the kitchen.

This Christmas is much quieter than most we’ve shared.  For the first time in over thirty years, our nest is truly empty.  And it has come as a shock and surprise to me that I am feeling a such loose ends because of it. I’m just not quite sure what I’m supposed to do now.

Doing things to prepare for Christmas has been my way of celebrating the holidays for most of my adult life.  I have worn the heavy self-made mantle of head elf, attempting to single-handedly create the perfect holiday for my family.  Now that it’s just the two of us, I seem to be left doing the same things on an abbreviated scale and I was beginning wonder why I bother. With no one else to share all the decorations or baking with, what is the point?

Then last night, as I sat in the living room with my eyes filled with tears, blurring the lights from the tree into a white haze, the clinking of dishes being loaded into the dishwasher reminded me exactly of why I continue the baking, the shopping, the wrapping and planning.  I do it because it is our tradition, Dave’s and mine.  Most were started before we had children and they will continue now that our children are grown and off making traditions of their own.

Truthfully, over the years our Christmas traditions have always changed.  As a military family, we made some major moves landing us in places where we always added and adapted as necessary.  For example  KFC became our Christmas Eve dinner to accommodate multiple Mass choir commitments, we switched between live and artificial trees, dinner menus were tweaked to include local favorites and except for a couple of years, we celebrated with our “local family,” close friends who like us, were far away from “home.”

So I guess for Dave and I, change has always been a constant for the Christmas holidays, and this year will be the same in that respect.  After all, life is not a constant, nor guaranteed, but it is to be lived well and not wasted.

So whether your nest is empty or bursting at the seams, my wish for you is that you make the time to enjoy the traditions you have, treasure those you’ve lost and look forward to those just beyond your sight.  As for me, I plan on spending a lot more time “being” and less time “doing.”  That is my new tradition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embracing the Holiday Spirit

With Thanksgiving in my rear view mirror and our neighborhood lit up at night like Fifth Ave. in New York City, there is little doubt that the Christmas Season is here.  Many of my friends have proudly proclaimed that they are done with their shopping; all the gifts are even wrapped and under the tree.  It is a much different story here at our house.  Our tree is standing in its usual spot in the living room but is only about 10% decorated.

I could lie and say we’ve just been too busy to hang the ornaments  but the simple fact is that I am generally the driving force behind the holiday transformation and for the past month have elected to sit, knit and watch old BBC reruns in my spare time.

I love Christmas.  And, while I should be embracing the season, I have been avoiding it, feeling like an alien dropped in a strange land, or like Charlie Brown asking, “Is this all there is?”  And, because I feel it necessary to analyze everything, I’ve been trying to get the root of my funk.

At the risk of beating and then dragging a dead horse, last month’s election has really hit me hard.  I’m struggling to steel myself through these next four years with our new “Tweeter-In-Chief”.  And, as Forrest Gump said, that’s all I have to say about that.

This weekend, Dave and I had a chance to getaway and have a change of scenery.  Every year he’s invited to attend a holiday open house at a senior associate’s home in Reston but never felt like making the two-hour ride to attend.  This year he suggested with try to hook up with our good friends, Lynda and Larry for an overnight and make a weekend of it.  I did.  They are not only available but tickled to have us come and spend the night with them. So, just after noon on Saturday, dressed in semi-semi-formal holiday attire, we headed up north for the weekend.

I’ve attended enough holiday affairs at flag officers’ homes to have a good idea of what to expect; decorations that were extensive and perfect without being overdone, buffet tables laden with good food and drink and rooms crowded with people I’ve never seen before.  I promised Dave not to desert me, something I’ve never done before.  I think it was more a product of my finding my voice than anxiety, although it’s been more than a few years since my last party on Admiral’s Row. He squeezed my hand and promised not to.

Our hosts did not disappoint.  They were warm and gracious and their  home was gorgeous! I can’t imagine the hours it took to plan and execute the decorations or the amount of storage it takes to maintain them.  The food was beautifully presented and I did my best to stay away since we were having dinner later with our friends.  Best of all, despite the fact I walked in not knowing a soul, it wasn’t long before I remembered that these were Dave’s colleagues and they are for the most part a genuine good bunch of folks.  Conversation was easy and on the whole was much more of a delight than a box checking corporate affair.

The greatest bonus of the trip was having the opportunity to visit our friends.  It’s so hard to believe it’s been twenty years since we first moved to Vienna, because in the two short years we were there, we became so close and have thankfully stayed that way.  Spending the night with them gave us the luxury of catching up in a warm, relaxed way.

As we shared our first cup of coffee on Sunday morning, Lynda opened a Little Blue Book tucked in the center of her Advent Wreath and had me read the devotion for the day.  It was just the thing I needed to read; a reminder that we shouldn’t worry about trying to make the perfect Christmas because when we celebrate Christ’s birth, we should remember that He wasn’t born into a perfect world. We should embrace the imperfections in the realization that in turn, we are embraced by Jesus for our imperfections. Wow.

Later, when we attended Mass with them, I began to feel that embrace.  It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way; church has been a real struggle for me.  But for that hour, I let myself go and offered myself into the moment.  The reminder of why I still go to church despite my struggles was profound.

Our weekend ended back at home with Dave’s Christmas Concerts with the Greene County Singers.   The venue is the tiny Stanardsville United Methodist Church, an old white clapboard building with hardwood floors that creak when walked on and white wooden pews that are short seated and straight backed.  But, with two beautifully lit Jesse Trees as a backdrop for the concert, it is magical.  The quality of the chorus is wonderful as they present an hour-long program of holiday music.

Greene County Singers Concert 2014
Greene County Singers Concert 2014

As I sat and listened, I kept my eyes on Dave’s face which radiates when he sings.  I think he looks happiest when he’s singing and I love to see the transformation.

As we walked back to our car in the dark and rain, I realized that over the course of the weekend, I too was transformed.  My funk is gone and I am ready to take on the holiday, embracing the imperfections  the best I can.

Staying the Course

Not the game we attended, but a cute picture of the next generations continuing our tradition!
Not the game we attended, but a cute picture of the next generations continuing our tradition!

Last Wednesday night I was again reminded why I love college basketball so much.  Dave and I had tickets to the UVA vs Ohio State game, our local installment of the ACC – Big 10 rivalry.  And, while I was excited at the prospect of a good game, I was not so happy about the late tip-off time to accommodate ESPN.

Admittedly, I am old and a 9:20 start time is the equivalent of 11:20 in OP (old people) terms.  My end of day fatigue combined with a less than stellar first half, had me secretly yearning to go home and go to bed, foregoing the second half entirely.  I couldn’t see how my team would make up a 16 point deficit and come back to win.  And, while winning isn’t everything, it does make life a little sweeter.

Then, to my delight, our guys took the floor for the second half and went on an 11-0 run, bringing the point spread down and victory back into the realm of possibilities.  The arena became electrified as the fans joined the team in the fight, making noise when Ohio State had the ball, cheering politely for each UVA possession and booing mercilessly at each perceived slight or bad call by the refs.

With less than five minutes to go, UVA took the lead, lost it and regained it again.  The John Paul Jones Arena went wild!  For the last couple of minutes, we were all on our feet cheering our hearts out to keep the hope alive and then, with seconds left to go and UVA leading by one point, Ohio State took possession and as the last few seconds ticking by, took the last shot …. and missed! WE WON!

I’m not sure how much the cheering of the fans had any effect on the outcome, but it sure felt like we were doing something to further our cause.  But, nonetheless, winning felt very good.  It lifted my spirits and gave me hope.  After last month, I needed a positive reminder to help shake off my blues.

Thanks Tony Bennett for coaching your guys onto this win, it was amazing!  And thanks to you Jay Pinto for introducing me to this incredible game!

 

Our room in the Brickhouse Tavern, Colonial Williamsburg
Our room in the Brickhouse Tavern, Colonial Williamsburg

Last Friday morning I woke up under the blue and white checks of a four-posted canopy bed in a colonial tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg. After several months jam-packed with volunteer activities, Dave and I were taking a well deserved getaway.  When we booked our trip, we had no idea just how much we’d need to get away from.

It was a beautiful sunny crisp fall morning and the streets were quiet as we walked to the Governor’s Palace for the first tour of the day. There apparently wasn’t much interest in an early morning tour of the Palace because as it turned out, Dave and I were escorted privately through the reconstructed building by a very knowledgeable young man dressed in pale blue livery representing the colors of former Virginia colony governor Lord Dunmore.  As we walked through the lavishly decorated rooms (by eighteenth century standards), our guide gave us an idea of what life was like in this colony over two hundred years ago.

One thing I learned on my tour of the Governor’s Palace was the in the first room we entered, right off the front door.  It was the office of the Governor’s housekeeper.  This person was a paid professional who was responsible for not only the running of the Governor’s home but also for all of his plantations in Virginia.  Surprisingly this person was a woman.  She held all the keys and managed the servants both freed and enslaved. For her time in history, this was a position of great power and responsibility.  She would have enjoyed a great deal of freedom, as long was she wasn’t married.

It’s funny, but usually when I tour a historic home, I imagine myself living within its walls.  This time, maybe because I received a sharp smack of reality earlier last week when the election results were announced, I instead pictured myself living a much different life in those times than that of a stately lady living in a fine house.  To live in a fine home such as this or in most of the preserved homes in Colonial Williamsburg, a family had to be extremely prosperous, either as the result of status of birth or financial well-being.  Having seen my family tree on Ancestry.com, it is evident that there was very little of either in my familial lineage.  With this in mind, I began to ponder just where my loyalties would have fallen had I lived during the times leading up to the American Revolution.

If I’d been the wife of a farmer, as most of my ancestors seemed to have been, I suppose I would have been far too concentrated on keeping food on our table and clothes on our backs to worry about what kind of government we had.  My reality would have been days of hard work followed by more days of hard work until I couldn’t work anymore.  Life was tenuous at best.  As a woman, I was certainly entitled to my opinion, provided I kept it to myself.  And whether the country was ruled by a King or elected body, that wasn’t going to change.  I rather think I would be more inclined to stick to the status quo.  After all, why would I purposely risk what little security I had? For women of that time, there would be no representative government whatever the outcome of a revolution.

I wonder if women actually felt the lack of inclusion back then.  Were there sparks dissatisfaction?  History records there were great debates about freeing enslaved people at the time of the Declaration of Independence and again at the writing of the Constitution, but if there was any discussion of the equality of women at that time, it was apparently not worth remembering.  To the people of that time, it would have probably been a laughable idea.

Today, it appears as though women have come a long way.  We have had the right to vote for almost one hundred years and have just had a  woman, backed by a major political party run for President.  Some of the rhetoric and mud-slinging that took place during this election process has demonstrated just how much further women have to go to reach full equality because while many votes were cast for her opponent for reasons of policy disagreement, there appears to have been many man and women cast their votes against her simply because she was a woman.

I don’t know what it will take to reach full equality in the perception of the populace of this county.  Certainly smarter and braver women than I have tried.  My hope is that the dialog will continue. Who knows, maybe in 2020; the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment we’ll finally see a woman in the White House.

Grieving the Possibility

Ensign and Mrs. Waugh at the Intruder Ball, 1983
Ensign and Mrs. Waugh at the Intruder Ball, 1983

For many, Veterans Day is a day to remember those who have served our nation in the armed forces.  Originally known as Armistice Day, it marked the anniversary of the First World War or as it was known hopefully by those who lived through that frightening time; the “war to end all wars”.  For me, for the past thirty years it has been the day I miscarried my last child.

I will always remember this event happened on Veterans Day.  Dave was on active duty at the time  and so we went to the labor and delivery deck at the old Portsmouth Naval Hospital; a scary building which was originally built as the brig. (I’m not sure when it was built, but I’m fairy certain it dates back to when the original hospital was built in 1827.)  Because of the holiday  there was minimal staff and were not  particularly warm or considerate, treating me more like an inconvenience than someone in distress.

I received adequate care but the holiday created  enough hiccoughs in services like the unavailability of clean linens, etc.,  that the fact that my miscarriage landed on a national holiday, has been firmly planted in my brain and so does not slip by each year unnoticed.

So, every year while people seem to trip over themselves to “thank us for our service,”  which, by the way, is a relatively new concept in my almost forty years of military wife experience, I instead spend time wondering how our lives might have been different if we’d had a third child as a member of our family.

The only thing we knew for certain about this child was that it was a boy.  There were indications leading up to my miscarriage that his heartbeat was slowing but whether that was indicative of a defect or just part of his passing, we’ll never know. All we can say for sure it that there once was a possibility of a child, his health may have been poor and that even after thirty years gone by, I still look back and wonder just what it would have been like to have been his mother.

This year’s remembrance of my lost child has been compounded by my feelings about the result of last week’s presidential election.  Just as I was certain at the beginning of my last pregnancy that I would carry my baby to term, I was equally as certain, based on Nate Silver’s track record and my own hopes, that our country would elect Hillary Clinton to be our next president.  Neither happened as I would have expected.

And so this year, I also grieve the loss of what might have been.  The potential of what Hillary Clinton could have brought to our county is what we will never know and it saddens me deeply.  I’ve never cried after election results were announced before.  Since Wednesday morning I’ve teetered on the edge and several times have allowed myself the self-indulgence of a good cry. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t make me feel any better, it just is.

Thursday afternoon Dave and I went down to Colonial Williamsburg for a long awaited getaway weekend.  As we emerged ourselves in colonial America, I began to regain my perspective.  On our visit to Charlton’s Coffee House on Duke of Gloucester Street we were immersed in the year 1765.  After our interpreter gave her presentation  regarding the “current” debate about the recent Stamp Acts she asked those gathered if there were any questions.  A woman asked if there had been much talk of revolution.  Staying in character, the interpreter replied no.  She went on to say that there was not telling what would happen within the next ten years or so, but for now (1765) the residents of Williamsburg were all good British subjects and happy to be so.  And in all reality, if the revolution hadn’t happened, I don’t think our lives would be radically different from what they are today.

And so it goes.  We just don’t know what will come our way in the next ten years.  All we can count on for certain is that time will pass and things will change, because they always do.  Going forward, I will try to wrap my head around our new national reality and continue my work in my community but there will always be that part of me that will wonder about what could have been.

“Dis-Carding”

Grandma loved Hummels.I spent the better part of last Saturday cleaning up and out the upstairs guest rooms.  Dave was away at a Cursillo weekend and I had the house to myself.  The catalyst for this need to clean was an overnight visit from friends, although I’ve wanted to tackle the dust and clutter for a long while.

When I clean a room  I start by removing anything that technically doesn’t belong there and then move on to the actual “cleaning”.  Over the past several months, our guest rooms have become repositories for a variety of items that were cleared from the downstairs rooms when they were cleaned.  Since there was nowhere else to move these things to, they had to be addressed individually and a decision had to be made whether or not to find a proper place to keep them, move them into the limbo areas in Dave’s and my offices; the last gasp of hope for anything to remain a part of our household or just  pitch them.

One of the items up for review was a shoebox full of old greeting cards.  I decided to go through them to evaluate each on its own merit, sentimentality, beauty, or humor.  As I went through the pile of cards, I found a birthday card from my Grandma Gray; a Hummel print of a rosy-cheeked little boy   with a fishing pole perched on a stump.  I knew it was from Grandma without even opening it  because of the picture.

Grandma loved Hummel’s and had a collection of the colorful figurines displayed on her bay windowsill. From an early age we learned we were only to look at them, never touch them. The card in my hand was one that accompanied a gift of one of those figurines on my fiftieth birthday – an age when I was finally old enough to touch one.

I know not many of us are lucky enough to still have their grandmothers still with them when they celebrate their fiftieth birthdays.  I was blessed to have mine not only still living; but truly alive.  Although her body and memory were failing, the important bits of her personality that made her the unique warm, funny and faith filled woman  with a bright twinkle in her blue eyes, remained with her until the end.

I loved to phone her everyone once in a while, just to hear her voice and hear her call me darling in her special way that sounded like a song.  I didn’t realize how much I missed her until I opened the card and saw her signature and felt my eyes fill with tears. card1

It’s times like these that I’m glad I’m not so systematic in clearing out cards at the end of a birthday or holiday.  If I’d thrown this card out eleven years ago, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to visit with my Grandma and revisit how much I loved her and she loved me.

 

Keeping in Check

Being the person in charge of something involving the trust of others is never an easy role.  For the better part of the last six months I have been keeping the registration records for an upcoming charity event.  It is my first time in this particular job but I’ve worked on these types of projects since I was in high school and that is more years ago than I’d care to admit.  My personality leads itself to the minutia of administrative duties and I revel in the charms of Excel spreadsheets. I developed a spreadsheet for my event to include all the pertinent information for each invitee including a little bit about each one, their contact information and notes recording each time I either attempted to reach them or heard from them.

The initial invitations to our event were mailed out in April to all previous participants, some by email when I had the address while the others were sent by the US Postal system.  And while, I was a little nervous about my invites ending up in SPAM boxes, I was pretty confident the US Mail wouldn’t let me down.

As I became aware of new possible participants, they too were added to my list and invited in whatever way possible, via email, Facebook, Etsy, or snail mail.  From the point that invitations were offered, I occasionally  followed up if I had an email address because it was expedient and I have also assumed the cost of all paper, ink and stamps.

To my delight, my sheet grew from about thirty names to over one hundred and thirty, all documented as to when they were invited, where my committee first met them and if and when they responded.  Because of this attention to detail, my event was filled in short order and I have continued to add names to both my waiting list and mailing list for next year.  I was feeling pretty good about my efforts until yesterday afternoon.

I received a call from someone wanting to participate.  Their group had been long time participants in our event and an invitation had been sent through the mail in April since the only contact information I had was a street address.   I checked my spreadsheet and confirmed the mailing address and date the invite was sent but I’d received no response.

I offered to place them on the waiting list because with a finite number of spaces, that was all I could do. Not liking my answer, I was subjected to a long tirade claiming they were the injured party due to my lack of organization. Before I could get another word in, the line went dead leaving my in the  uncomfortable funk that I have been trying to exorcise for the past twenty-four hours.

I’ve told myself over and again that the reason I received the blunt end of this abuse was because this person felt that their group had been let down by their failure to act in a more timely manner.   I can understand that.  If the roles had been reversed, I know I would have felt terrible but I hope I wouldn’t have unleashed that frustration on someone else.  And if I had, I hope I would have regained my senses quickly enough to stop and apologize.

In a few days I’m certain the sting of this experience will fade but I hope the memory of it will keep me in check if the feeling of “giving someone a piece of my mind” begins to overtake me.  I wouldn’t want to leave anyone feeling the way I do today.