Usually, I like to talk. All my friends know this and probably would tell you that losing my voice is my greatest fear – after all, I depend on my voice to make a living, and quite frankly, I engage in oral rehearsal before I write, and reread aloud while I draft, revise, and edit. I always listen to the sounds of words – the music the words are creating. But last night, I could not hear the music.
I was at Texas Roadhouse with my husband Ralph and Bobbie, an ADK sister (that’s what we call our members of Eta chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa) for a fundraising event. We were raffling tickets for a basket of cheer containing some interesting kitchen gadgets like an Aervana standard aerator for showcasing your wine at its best, beautiful snowflake corks, pottery and ceramic wine bottle stoppers, and of course, bottles of Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Zinfandel, Syrah. Our shift was 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., and this was the second time we were back to sell tickets.
My husband counted and tore tickets, numbered the sheets where we recorded names, addresses, and phone numbers, and left the selling to Bobbie and me. He said he couldn’t really be the person selling for a women’s sorority – that should be a woman! Since Bobbie was late, I had to do all the selling for the first twenty minutes. Ugh! Yes, it’s all for a good cause – actually, all the monies go to many charities such as Laurel House, College Settlement Camp, WePAC, Harambee Foundation in Tanzania, Pearl S. Buck International, and Elmwood Park Zoo. We raise money all year long, and all the money is divided among our charities in various amounts. Every penny raised goes to the charities. I like that.
I don’t like selling raffle tickets. I should be good at it right? After all, I’m a natural-born talker. But I can hardly get the words out, and my husband gave me the eye as I let this group and that group of people by without saying one word. “Don’t look at me that way. They weren’t going to buy any tickets.” In the end, there were many generous people who bought a group of tickets for $5, $10, and even $20. One woman had no cash but dug in her pocketbook and coat pockets until she produced a dollar’s worth of change to buy one ticket. She didn’t want the basket of cheer; she just wanted to donate to charity. Wow!
One woman and her (second) husband gave us $20. She shared her story of abuse and how places like Laurel House give women a second chance. She brought tears to my eyes. She had lived a life I knew nothing about except for what I’d read. Each year, Laurel House serves over 3000 families who arrive scared and in crisis. Those who come to the shelter, often do so with nothing but the clothes that they are wearing. This strong West Virginian told us that she had once bought a truckload of items to donate to Laurel House and because of the generosity of donors, Laurel House is able to provide women and their children with most of their basic needs, along with a safe, warm place to stay.
So, in the end, it was a good evening. We met a lot of generous people who gave even when they probably didn’t have the cash to spare. And yes, some folks just walked by us without stopping. Others politely said, “No thank you.” My husband reminded me that it is a choice everyone has the right to make and that some might have other favorite charities, and even if they didn’t – it was still their choice. My husband is wise. What would I ever do without him!