What an amazing night Friday was!
After months of planning, it was finally time to take a deep breath, say one last prayer, and experience the Haiti Benefit Dance!
My band mate John, who would be our DJ, took the day off of work so that he could move his sound equipment from my garage to the church. Dad, Kevin, Jill, and Frank helped set up the tables and arrange the room.
As soon as school dismissed, I rushed home, walked Macy, and joined everybody over at the church to decorate, which included black stars and black napkins set out on any array of bright-colored table cloths. Once the greeting table was prepared with flyers, raffle tickets, a hand stamp, and money box, I jetted home to take a shower and slip into my dress. Then I zipped back to the church to set up the projector, visualization video, disco ball, and strobe lights.
The Knights of Columbus donated all the food and volunteered to serve hamburgers, hot dogs, soft pretzels, sodas, and water. My wonderful mother baked cookies and grouped them together in little baggies, tied with pretty yellow ribbons. The Knights sold Mom's cookies and also provided free kegs of beer.
The night began with a swing dance lesson for beginners, taught by John, who DJs and teaches every Saturday night at a swing dance club. It was so much fun to learn, even though I was a horrible student, distracted not only by my inadequacies of proper foot placement but also my desire to greet everyone as they walked in!
Around 9:30, I awarded giant candy bars to the person who traveled the farthest (who happened to be Mike, our drummer, who came from South Philly) and the person who brought the most friends (who, ironically, was one of the 3 people I never got to meet, although I suppose I must know all of her friends).
Then we did the 50/50 raffle drawing, and--since $64 was in the pot--lucky Jonathan Strate walked away with $32! It seemed perfect that God should allow him to win, for he is such a hard worker in promoting the faith among young adults. He has already dedicated so much of his time, talent, and treasure, maintaining a young adults group in Philly and recently building yet another one in West Chester. So I was very glad for him!
Then I announced that we had raised $500 for Haiti relief, but--by the end of the night--this number had risen to $600!
Ten minutes before the dance was to finish at 11 PM, my band mate Greg spontaneously asked if we could have an after-party back at my house! I wasn't prepared, but I was too excited to say no. So I dashed home and tidied up as rapidly as I could before the onslaught of people came!
Within 15 minutes, my little house was packed to capacity, its sides nearly busting at the seams. Honestly, the house never squeaked so much before, but houses do these sorts of things when they are well-loved. :)
People were upstairs and downstairs, and the living room was standing room only, unless, of course, you wouldn't mind sitting on my desk, which two people did. Others squeezed into the kitchen or the hallway near my bedroom. Others lingered in my Prayer Room, examining the contents of my Free Religious Gifts Grab Basket, which was rather difficult to do, given that I had purposely turned the lights off so that the room would only be illuminated by candles.
I served iced tea and later fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate, for these were the only "servable" items that happened to be in my refrigerator! As morning approached and people's bellies became hungry, I came very close to serving cheese steak sandwiches, although people later figured that their bodies needed sleep more than anything.