Tuesday, May 24, 2011

charity begins at home (m)

I am the chairperson for the annual fund for an educational initiative.  We do about five events per year and tonight is one of them.  A reception for fifty prospective donors at a private home in Milton.

There are two types of people in Boston—South Shore people and North Shore people.  I am a North Shore girl.  I need a compass just to identify which direction is south.

I plug the address into my GPS and head out into the peak of rush-hour traffic.  The VP of Development calls me in advance to make sure I am headed in the right direction.  I like this woman very much but I’m not sure what she thinks of me.  She is very tall, pretty and blonde—your basic nightmare.  When she called me a few months ago to come into the office for a photo shoot for the annual brochure, she said “don’t worry…it’s just a head shot and we can re-touch it.”  Nice.

By the grace of God, I get to the event on time.  I am the featured speaker.  The VP of Development looks me up and down and says, half-heartedly, “Oh, you look nice.”  I am wearing the same thing I always wear.  I just put on a different scarf each time to keep ‘em guessing.

The first thing you notice about this house is that it is deceptively large.  Outside, it looks to be a little bigger than a ranch.  Inside, it’s massive.  High ceilings, all open floor plan.  The outside looks like a park, complete with a gazebo, pergola and a bridge to nowhere.  There are birdhouses and chimes.

I notice the seating in every room looks amazingly comfortable.  Wherever I sit (and I try out a few spots) the first thing I want to say is “Ahhh.”  Bliss.  If I ever had to housesit in this place, I could nap in every room.

The invitation said “cocktails and appetizers” and the event was 6-8 p.m.  I had a good lunch (Asian salad at McDonald’s with only half a packet of the low-fat Ginger Sesame dressing) thinking I would not be eating at this event.  Most of the time, there is one veggie platter at these things.  Tonight, however, is a whole different scene.  Caterers in the kitchen poured out with a bevy of food—lobster on some kind of crostini, spinach and artichoke thingies, a fountain of shrimp cocktail, a huge platter of all sorts of cheeses, a platter of asiago cheese (melted) wrapped in dates, homemade egg rolls with sweet sauce, and sandwiches of tenderloin beef and boursin cheese as well as chicken salad sandwiches.  Oh, and a caprese salad and a tortellini salad.  All huge platters.

A bar stocked with wine, beer and soft drinks is at the other end.  I have Perrier and lemon and a couple of pieces of shrimp with strawberries.

By the coffee station are homemade macaroons and those whoopee pies.  A veritable orgy. 

The hosts, a nice-looking couple, are warm and gracious, greeting each guest personally and spending time with each one.

I can’t get over how comfortable the house is.  I really feel at home here.

As I am leaving, I turn to the Vice President of Development and say, “ I really feel so comfortable in this house.  By the way, what does he (the host) do for a living?”

She smiles at me and says, “He owns a large chain of Big and Tall Clothing Shops.”

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