Apr 29, 2009

The Best Time.

I helped throw the most fabulous dinner party last night.  I went with a group from work to make dinner at Hope Lodge. Hope Lodge is a residential facility run by The American Cancer Society that provides free temporary housing for cancer patients in treatment. You can learn more about them here and there may be one in your town. If not, I’ll bet there’s something similar. 

I’ve lost both family and friends to cancer in the last few months. It’s a cruel disease – heartless and unforgiving. If you’ve ever had to watch someone you love fight for his or her life then you know the feeling of helplessness that sets in. You desperately want to do something, anything, to help. Sometimes the best way to help is to take care of the little things – cook dinner & make them laugh.

Our dinner wasn’t fancy or sophisticated in the least. But it was homemade with love and served with real caring. Spaghetti and meatballs may not seem very special, but last night it was. We transformed the dining room into a quaint Italian trattoria with red checkered tablecloths, music, menu table tents and wine bottle candleholders splattered with wax that I made at home. When we were done decorating it didn’t even look like the same place. More importantly, it didn’t feel like the same place – it felt special.

I fetched plates and refilled glasses. I joked around, cajoled “one more bite” and listened to stories. I traded recipes, made movie recommendations and wrapped up extra cupcakes so they could be smuggled back for a midnight snack. I hugged and laughed and spoke words of encouragement. I plastered a big goofy grin on my face and made sure it stayed there. And when dinner was over, the dishes were clean and the leftovers had been put away, I climbed in my car to go home and realized that my goofy smile was actually genuine – I’d had a great time.

One woman stopped me on the way out to say it was the best meal she’d had in weeks and she wanted to thank us. I confessed to her that it was the most fun I’d had in weeks, so really it was I who owed her the thanks.

Wanna have a good time? Organize a group from work, some neighbors or a gaggle of girlfriends and plan a meal together. Keep it simple and easy - something everybody can help prepare. Then cook & serve it to a group in your community that could use a little pick-me-up. Everybody wins.

p.s. I promised a special hello for one of my new friends… Floyd is kicking cancer’s ass. His last treatment is Friday and then he’s headed home. Give ‘em hell Floyd.


T.Ro.Dub. said...

This sounds like an awesome, awesome night! How fun!

Erin said...

That is a great story, and wonderfully told. I hope the experience took away a little bit of the pain.

RRH said...

I'm very proud of you

Kate said...

Your story really inspired me. I found a hope lodge not too far from me, and I'm going to try to get some friends together to do something similar.

The Single Gal said...

Kate - I'm so glad! I know you'll have a fantastic time & they'll absolutely love having you & your fabulous cooking there :)

Lisa said...

Rah, this was heartwarming and poignant