Pete Valentine has held court on her Willow Street stoop for years. She tells about her encounter with Cher during the filming of Moonstruck on Cranberry Street with delighted tourists. Tales of her magical childhood in Brooklyn Heights- roller skating to school and being given a horse by her God father- resonate with locals old and new. Neighborhood dogs pull their owners to her stoop for a treat. Every time I see Pete, she reminds me “Life is so daily.” Every time I hear it, I think I get it, maybe.
This past Sunday, I benefited from false advertising. Crafting for a Cause was meeting for the first time. Based on past classes, I prepared for a handful of older children, many of them girls. The class started at 1; by 1:10, there were fifteen six and seven year olds in the room, all but two of them boys! Odd, I thought as I scrambled to come up with more age appropriate activities. Rolling pins and paint brushes replaced sewing needles and weaving looms. I was a bit disappointed.
My announcement that we would begin crafting was met with an unexpected cheer. Several children shouted “I love Mine Craft!” Mystery solved. Mine Craft is a popular video game, not the activity I had planned. I started to explain what we were doing and why, when a fight over a sword and some small animal figures- three raccoons and two mice- ensued. Feeling more and more defeated, I began negotiations. Mid-negotiation, one of the children asked, “Will we be painting?” He had noticed the brushes. “Yes” derailed the negotiations (which were at a pathetic stalemate.) Everyone charged to the tables. Crafting began.
While our creations will not be sold on Etsy or displayed on Pinterest, I could not have felt happier. For almost an hour, we worked diligently on bird houses and Easter bunnies. Most of us used too much paint. Many of the Easter bunnies heads are bigger than their bodies. Everyone was happy. As the kids talked and laughed while they worked, I finally allowed myself to enjoy the moment. It was not about the end product but the process that included new friendships being formed and old ones being strengthened.
At pick up, two of the fathers peered into the Bowling Alley and reminisced about their childhoods at Plymouth. It struck me that as parents, they had returned to Plymouth. I hoped their children would one day do the same.
If the day had turned out as I had planned it, none of this would have happened. We try so hard to control our lives but we are not in charge. God gives us small reminders of who is and why. Pete is right, “Life is so daily.”