On Saturday, September 11, a motley group of people gathered at The Folly outside Shepherdstown to raise funds for a friend. Sarah, a mother of four children, has stage 4 breast cancer. Chemotherapy has taken its toll. She’s unable to work. She’s facing the valley of the shadow of death.
I don’t know Sarah. But my sons do. And most of their friends do. Those friends have rallied to Sarah’s side. One old friend flew in from Albuquerque to stand with his friends pulling for Sarah.
Paula and I went. We’ve known most of our sons’ friends since they were children. We watched them grow up. And now they have children, and we have grandchildren. It was a gathering of generations.
Sarah showed up sporting a bright red wig. She beamed. Her friends beamed. The valley brightened.
Sarah may be down on her luck, but she has an angel named Angelina (of course) in her corner.
Angie knows that dark valley too. She’s been there.
Angie also knows how to organize events. When she gets going, look out! She’s a whirlwind.
Angie wanted the regional park but the rent was too much. She secured The Folly for free.
She arranged a lineup of her local musician friends. She asked a friend to bring his food truck. He did—and he donated half his proceeds. She invited a Kona truck. The vendor gave away shaved ice for free. She solicited donations for a silent auction. She ordered T-shirts (Fight 4 She). She mobilized volunteers.
And, of course, she ordered a porta-potty.
A few days before the event, the potty provider suddenly realized that the venue was outside his jurisdiction.
(Really?! There are porta-potty jurisdictions?)
Angie called another provider who had a potty available but couldn’t deliver it. You’ll have to get it yourself. I don’t have a truck. Sorry, that’s all I can do.
She hung up and noticed a guy nearby with a pickup truck. How would you like to drive up to Hagerstown and pick up a porta-potty for me? He did.
Angie doesn’t have a magic wand. She has gumption.
Sarah’s household expenses are covered for the next six months.
The valley of the shadow of death looms for all. There’s no way around it. You got to go through it. But it sure helps (a lot) when friends walk it with you.
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FINAL NOTICE: Two book signings are coming up soon at Four Seasons Books, 116 German St., Shepherdstown: Saturday, September 25, at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Each event will begin with a brief reading. Bring your copy of 80 Dispatches from the Devil’s Domain or purchase one at the store that day. This book and my first one, Let Love Arise, are available on Amazon (print and digital). Might not your kith and kin enjoy a copy too?
See Paula’s new photo (“Bandon Beach, Oregon”) on the home page. Posted September 5.
This is a poignant and touching story which points to the best of our humanity. It reminds me of words attributed to Albert Camus: “Don’t walk in front of me—I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me—I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
Thanks. We too came to support Sarah last Saturday at the Folly as part of our tribe… the grandparent part of the clan. We’ve known that valley, and how important friends & family are on that walk. What we experienced that day & evening was so inspiring … life-affirming creativity all around, and kind folks of all ages BEing TOGETHER…for a common purpose. Two younger generations continuing to carry forward the concept of gathering – to celebrate, to mourn, to work, to play, to sing, to dance, to heal TOGETHER. We are in good hands! Thanks to our angel Angelina, and her cohort…. Carry On!!! We love you all💕
I have witnessed the power of Angelina. It is real. It is real, and real powerful.
One of those “Takes a village things!” Of course, proud of my gal but all kinds of folks donated time, energy and money to this event. We could mention them all but I’m sure there would be all kinds of peeps ( young and old) I would forget. So proud of our little community. No place on earth quite like it! May we all continue to pray and send bright vibes to Sarah and her family and friends. Thanks for this week’s blog.
IS THERE AN ADDRESS TO SEND A CONTRIBUTION, IF ALLOWED?
I don’t know, George. But I will check around to see if there is and let you know. Thanks for asking. Other readers may be interested as well. Randy
That’s what I’m talking ‘bout. Meekly moving mountains.
What a beautiful story …truly inspiring and a testimony to what happens when our ‘better selves’ come together!! Thanks.