Last night a few of us 'branded' (ouch!) In Your Neighbourhood blogonias had ourselves a dinner party, warmly hosted by Oneal, at Orton Hall. Though I've had lots of in-depth conversations with him, this was the first time we met in person. He came to the door and enveloped me in a hug that was the final adoption-signing of becoming family. Upstairs in the living room of this comfortable Jesuit Residence, Mizu, Kim and Patty were already sipping sodas and enjoying the spectacular view of the mountain through an entire wall of windows.
We slipped into conversation as comfortably as we slipped into the couches and chairs, talking about our backgrounds, our ideas and hopes for the Blog, and how to get better at writing our posts. Mizu brought along Mark Briggs' book and has kindly lent it to me. (Sorry Mark, a woman in Nairobi who is trying to keep children safe won out and got my $10 of disposable income this month.)
The mountain disappeared in the dark as we were invited to the table for some wine, and to break bread (well eggrolls) with scads of Chinese take-out. Laughter was the sixth companion, balancing us as the stories became more personal. There is something so ceremonial about gathering at the meal table, sharing what fills us and allowing our vulnerability within the support and relaxation of the collective.
Here's Mizu at the table, whose name aptly means, water, fluid and strong.
This is the face Kim made after her fortune cookie spoke to her personally. It's also the face she made upon hearing some of the things they don't tell you about, concerning the warranty of body parts after age fifty! Patty was amused. Oh girlfriends, you have no idea!
The evening was a treasure for me. Being a 24/7 caregiver means I often have to cancel plans at the last minute and it's been a while since I've enjoyed sitting around the table with friends. I thought, when I first signed-up for this blog, that I was giving myself another writing outlet. That was enough incentive for me...but the medium and the gift has become so much more.
We have come to the table to fill ourselves and each other. At this table, I have found writers and South Sound neighbours who want to make movement in the world. I have found friends and comrades-in-arms who, in the everyday, work our communities and the corner of the world that reaches in for anyone's touch.
Here's to our host of the evening, who also waited with me for a Triple-A jumpstart. Seems I left the headlights on. Thank you so much, Oneal! You're a Grit City pearl.