A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

My Photo
Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

150th Birthday Celebration

I've been a member of more organizations than I could ever remember or count. One thing I've learned is that if an event--any event--is to be a success, it had better involve food. Free food. Also, especially in colder weather, hot coffee. The more and better the free food, the more successful the event. The more and better the advertising of the free food, the better the attendance. This works for everything from regularly scheduled "working" meetings of clubs to the middle school science fair. If you want enough board members for a quorum, provide sandwiches and coffee. If you want your friends to help you move, lure them with pizza and beer. If you want people to take stop by your booth at the expo, scatter candy bars among the brochures.

Today we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Springfield Library. At the last meeting of the Library Advisory Board, of which I'm a member, we discussed preparations for the event. Darleen, who runs the Loaves and Fishes meal program at Christ Church Cathedral, thinks like me. She was sure MCDI students would provide a cake at no charge. She'd also pick up the cookies that the library had agreed to pay for. When objections were raised about the possible messiness of coffee, we both agreed to man the table of refreshments and monitor spills.

I could have been working on the set of "The Lonely Maiden," the new Christopher Walken movie filming in Boston, but I take my coffee duties seriously. Others coordinated the tour of the library, the music, and the book fair. Darleen profferred cookies while I cut cake and wiped up splatters.

Many, though by no means all, of those who stopped into the library were regular guests of the Loaves and Fishes next door. It was a chilly day, and our library is no different from any other library in the country, in that it has become a refuge for people with no place else to go. Nearly everyone who walked through the door gravitated immediately to our table with pleased surprise.

In certain company, when a cake is served, the guests all cry out for "just a tiny slice. No, thinner...no, thinner than that!" Then they scrape off the sugary icing. Not here. The fat corner pieces with roses piped on top flew off the table. Coffee was fixed with plenty of cream and as many as eight spoons of sugar. The extra cookies Darleen folded into napkins "for the road" were gratefully accepted.

Three young girls from the Community Music School played Vivaldi and Pachelbel. A couple of ladies from the book club reviewed novels they'd recently read. Ed Lonergan discussed the history and architecture of the building. In a world gone nuts, a little island of civilization, fueled by cookies, coffee and cake.

Labels: , , ,