The party was only just a little idea I had one day when I was getting ready for work.
Not being much for grandiose ideas such as seeing each of the Seven Wonders of the World, (although I must admit I have always thought that would be exceptionally cool), I wrote down my idea.
Have a backyard party!
This is not unusual for me. I am a maker of lists. I like lists.
Lists make me feel in control and focused.
Of course, I usually lose my lists or stumble upon them much later and am amused.
But this idea actually turned into a reality, a much bigger reality than I had imagined when I wrote ‘backyard party’ and stuck the crumpled list in the back pocket of my blue jeans.
As it turned out, I told a couple of people who told a couple of people and before I knew it, friends, musicians, family and silent auction items all got mixed up together in a delightful potpourri that turned into something special and great.
A backyard party/MS fundraiser!
This year was as awesome as usual. In the space of an afternoon, my backyard became a happy place filled with flowers and laughter and music and, last but not least, silent auction items spread out invitingly to tempt unsuspecting people to buy stuff they didn’t know they needed.
And then there was the Christmas stuff.
The Christmas stuff was brought to us by a lovely couple who were moving out of their home after living there for 52 years. They were both in ill health and their children convinced them they needed to downsize to a smaller place.
A place devoid of memories.
They brought us the decorations thinking the proceeds would go to a good cause.
And I’m sure they would have, except in all the hustle and bustle and with the rain coming down and the people all looking at the silent auction stuff, like a helicopter ride and a signed hockey jersey, the decorations got shoved aside.
And the next day when the smoke cleared and the tent was taken down and the tables and chairs returned, there sat the decorations; wet, soggy, wounded and forgotten.
I look at the jumbled display, achingly bare in the harsh light of morning, but I didn’t see it.
Instead I see a young mom hanging those decorations proudly on a real tree set up in the jumbled living room of an almost new house, a place four kids, one dog and two parents called home.
I see the kids carefully handing their mom the beautiful balls, their shiny surface reflected in the glow of the miniature lights, painstakingly hung on every branch.
And in the quiet of my mind, I can almost hear that old player piano they used to have ringing out tunes of Christmas cheer.
I put the vision away and bustle around striving to serve out large quantities of both coffee and morning cheer to my overnight guests as they slowly straggle out to the kitchen.
I try to distract her, but the lady, still lovely in her later years, looks out the kitchen window and sees the lonely, discarded decorations.
“I can’t believe no one wanted them,” she said morosely. “They are really nice.”
I smile, offering her slightly burned bacon and rapidly cooling toast and a hug.
“I guess you can’t put a price tag on memories,” I say lightly.
And I think about my own Christmas decorations.
Probably no one would want them either.
Who would want a cow made out of brown construction paper colored by a five-year-old? And the chipped ball with the year 1977 glued on with glitter glue would, no doubt, be tossed in the trash bin in very short order.
But for me, those items are worth more than money can buy.
And I cringe when I think that one day they will end up going to the best bidder or simply to the dump.
I hug the lady again, more fiercely this time, and go outside to hide the memories away from her beautiful, sad eyes.