Hit and Miss

Hunt for the bargain, but don't forget why you're here.
Dr. Holmes Morton

We could, of course, never lose sight of why we were spending the day Saturday eating our weight in freshly made donuts and bidding on quilts.

For the second year we drove out to Leola, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County to the benefit auction for the Clinic for Special Children, where we took Aaron to see one of his doctors.

It was a warm, sunny day, perfect for a drive through farm fields stretching out on either side of the road.  Hearty wafts of manure came in through the open windows and we'd say, Pewie!  Amish horse and buggies shared the roads with bicycle riders and cars.  Produce stands and barns selling handcrafted furniture completed the feeling of being well outside of an urban or suburban landscape.

My thoughts were focusing on eating an omelet and donuts and wondering what the experience would bring after breakfast.  We had already stated that no puppies would be riding back home with us, and how hard that would be if we found ourselves staring at a really cute one.

I hoped to come home with a quilt, furniture or plants, or donuts for the neighborhood if my bidding wasn't successful.

 Late morning the doctors spoke, welcoming and thanking everyone for coming, telling stories of their work at the clinic and making meaning of the event itself.  The anecdotes may vary year to year, but the reason and value in the gathering of this community is a constant.  Some of their words were a faint echo of last year, and they were just as hard and uplifting for me to hear this past Saturday.

For the few children they can help, there is one they cannot.  Putting into practice their knowledge is hit and miss.  I believe in their efforts no less even though our Aaron was one they ultimately could not help.  How hard it is to stand there and acknowledge that fact.

Dr. Morton used the word fellowship to describe the coming together of this community for common purpose that day.  Rarely, if ever, have I heard that term used outside a religious context.  Turning it around in my mind, I found I liked it and that it suited the spirit of the event perfectly.

He said we could all donate two days worth of wages instead of coming out, but what would be the fun in that?  As I sat observing and participating in the auction of eighty quilts*, and as the hours stretched from three to four with the remaining fifteen quilts, I thought about how I could simply write out a check and leave that auction hall.

But what would be the fun in that?  Like everyone else gathered in fellowship for the love and belief in the work of that clinic, I wanted to come home with a story.  I wanted to come home with a piece of that day and that community.

Charlie is our ultimate story of connection to that purpose.  We tell his story again and again and each time that connection is relived.  On Saturday, nearing the four hour mark of quilt bidding, fortified by sips of strawberry smoothie and heavenly bites of homemade soft pretzel brought over by Michael and Olivia, I renewed my determination to come home with a quilt that was pleasing to my eye.  I did not have an unlimited budget and certain colors are not my favorites.  I was growing despondent that I would come home without a story.

And then, I did it.  Quilt number 64, a white quilt with embroidered blue flowers was mine.  Congratulations came my way by those around me (some who had been there just as long).  I called Michael and said, I scored!  Olivia had been so patient.  Plied a bit by pretzel, lemonade, pizza, smoothie and a chocolate milkshake (all for the cause), it was less exciting than last year when she hopefully stood by a puppy crate, for as long as I sat this year with those quilts.

I haven't decided yet what I will do with "Embroidered Flowers".  It would fit our guest-room bed or Olivia's bed.  We could possibly hang it, or we may give it as a wedding gift for someone who took great care of Aaron.  Any one of those options is good, all of them tell the story.

*(In between the auctioning of each large quilt, is the auctioning of a smaller, quilted item such a wall hanging, table runner, seat cushion, so really the afternoon is devoted to the auctioning of 160 items, spanning about five hours or more).