It has been what I would call "A Week." over here. Starting on a high note and ending with some challenging news.
A week ago today though, we were preparing the first Rail Garden Community Dinner of the year. These community dinners started as a way for four neighbours to generate a little bit of start up income and a whole lot of community interest, for a community garden.
We were four people who had different experiences galvanizing groups of people in different ways but very little experience feeding lots of people or actually building community space. It has been a wild ride.
Since that first dinner we have gained new committee members (three!) and lost one of our original founders. We've learned how to beg, borrow and steal the equipment that we need from Churches, Neighbours, Donors and Businesses.
We have learned how to ask for volunteer help and how to use the volunteers effectively on the day of the event. What once took 4 of us 6 hours, 3 wagons and 1 bike chariot now takes us 3 hours with double our numbers in volunteers.
Our neighbourhood not only has told us they love these family dinners but they really made it so easy this time around. We asked for pot luck desserts and they delivered not just some desserts but beautiful home made show pieces.
Thank heavens the desserts were so epic, otherwise the adorable among us might have been at risk.
It is a beautiful thing, in the heart of an urban landscape, to have a place that whole families can congregate and eat together. Where our smalls can run amok and do what they do best without risk of offending other diners.
This particular dinner was different from all the rest for a number of reasons. The work preparing for it was spread among so many hands that it has never been so seamless to feed 130 of our friends. We invited everyone to bring their own wine or beer so we could all enjoy a drink together.
It was just a perfect night. The food delicious, the company divine and the atmosphere fun and casual. Everything that we want when we host dinner parties.
The satisfaction of hosting successful dinner parties is not something I ever really understood. Working with this group of people over the past year has changed the way I eat with the people in my life - my immediate family, my urban family, my neighbours, the people who cross my path, colleagues and friends.
It's becoming my favourite way of making time to see old friends. Let's eat!