Saturday, June 1, 2013

Feeding the Hordes Continues, the Finale

Sometimes you work hard and you fail anyway.

This morning, we had four people eating pancakes at our fundraiser who weren't us.

At first, I believed I lost the Troop somewhere between three and four hundred dollars. I returned $86 dollars worth of dry goods this afternoon. I put ten pounds of bacon in the freezer along with five pounds of sausage. Plus, I came home with a half gallon of half and half, a bottle of whipped cream, a box of Splenda, syrup, disinfectant, and a pound of decaf coffee which we'll use over time. I also have five pounds of pancake mix and five pounds of regular coffee which we can't use, but I'm sure I can find a home for them. We can't return the coffee because I labeled it for the breakfast, thinking that it could get mixed up with the party the Eagles were having on Friday night. I needn't have worried.

I'm convinced that the man who helped us from the Eagles Lodge all morning called four of his buddies when it was obvious that no one was coming and they came and ate. It was that sad.

Still, twelve boys showed up at 7:00 am in uniform, ready to serve. They scrambled to get everything running before we began at 8:00 am. Then, they went up and down the main road, trying to bring hungry people in for breakfast. Nick said he had fun doing it. Nine of their parents also showed up and got right to work. If they could, they posted to their Facebook friends to come. Then, when no one showed up, we ate. We ate well. Pancakes, bacon, strawberries, whipped cream. Someone went for mochas at the coffee hut. And they regaled me with stories. It helped.

One of the women told me that she saw my event notice in the newspapers. Later, the committee chair insisted that I submit my bills to get reimbursed. Most of the other Scouters put cash in the till for the groceries they were bringing home with them. Then even later, one of the moms put a handful of bills in my hand to 'pay' for a gallon of milk. The hardest part of the event was when one of them hugged me and said it would be okay.

After they'd cleaned up, after they'd packed my car and driven away, I sat in the driver's seat and bawled. It was one of those snot-sucking, snorting, hiccuping bout of tears. Nick held my hand, patting it now and then. He told me it was going to be okay. When I got home, I called Mike and cried some more. He told me it was okay too. He stayed on the phone with me until the whole thing died down, even though he was having fun at camp. The kids were having fun. The weather was perfect.

What did I learn from failing?

I can't imagine a sweeter bunch of people to have let down so completely. It makes it all that much worse, doesn't it? If anyone had yelled at me, I could have gotten indignant. They didn't. They were trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, deeply kind.

Well, there it is. It was as bad as it could have been without anyone getting sick. At least I have that. There were no food fights or scenes in which a whole room full of people tossed their cookies. I'm sure I'll find more insight as I get further away from this. I'm sure it'll turn into lore, a big joke, bigger, even, than bananarama was so many years ago, the story when the Scouts bought twelve bunches of bananas for fourteen people for a weekend trip.

Tomorrow, when people ask me how it went, I might be able to say, "Well, I only lost the Troop $103." I might be able to laugh.

It doesn't feel funny yet, but it will. I'm sure it will.

Thank you for listening, jb

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