I went to my speaking gig on Friday night. I drank a couple of club soda's...and in the end it was a little uneventful. The crowd was a bit unwieldy, couldn't control the masses. There was one lady speaking before me and all I could think was oh, dear this isn't going to be one of my more monumental earth moving spirit raising public chats.
The crowd simply would not settle down. But, then again they had a few of us speak before people could get through the very long food line and sit down to nosh on their yummy Bonefish Grill grub. And you know how difficult it is to control a crowd BEFORE they've been fed on a Friday night. The poor gal in front of me was a big supporter of the Wellness Community AND a recent cancer survivor. I would estimate about 20 people actually stopped to listen to her talk, about 5 less than stopped to listen while I had a firm grip on the mike. The rest of the other 300 folks too busy slurping down gin and tonics, scarfing down crab cheese balls and trying to outbid each other on the Peyton Manning jersey up for auction.
In the end it was all good. The older lady speaking before me got a little surly at the end of her 15 minutes of fame and clearly instructed the unruly crowd that they had better NOT outbid her on that week long trip to Sanibel Island also up for auction, she was a cancer survivor and for God's sake and she deserved a week in Sanibel. I should have stuck around long enough to see if she got the trip. I pity the poor fool dumb enough to out bid her auction bid.
When it was my turn I simply marched up to that loud crowd and did my best to entertain the 6 people listening with all the jocularity associated with having cancer 8 years ago. If you remember from the last post the theme of the evening was Laughing Matters. The whole time I was up there I just couldn't help feeling extremely grateful that I was just there, and not managing cancer on a daily basis. I'm living to tell the tale...to the 6 people who will stop to listen. Everything else that night paled in comparison. I'm lucky to have come so far that I have the luxury of being cancer cavalier.
I stepped off the stage and ran into a very old friend. Who, ironically enough was in my life supporting me when I was sick. She made meals and brought them to the house. She listened to me when I needed it with a group of amazing book study ladies for months on end. Now it was her time for some help, she told me about how her dear husband has advanced stage disease, and they are using the services of the Wellness Community. She told me the story with grace and dignity. I don't know what life holds for my friend and her husband but I do know that I cherish those few fleeting moments with her as she explained their fight with the disease. I suspect that was the real reason I was meant to attend the event...not to yuck it up with jokes about crooked wigs and strange mishaps with radiation. But rather, to be there connecting with people like my friend who are living gracefully with cancer.
I didn't stay for the free drinks or dinner after my little public chat. I didn't feel like it. I got in the car and rushed back to the house to see if the girls were still awake. Of course they were, the Muffin Man isn't as strict about that 8pm bedtime routine as I am. I gathered up 3 library books, hoisted them into my bed and read them their stories. I kissed their little warm heads as I tucked them in.
And that's it...that's how the evening went down.