You know when you're growing up, and people say 'oh, you look so much like your mother!', or 'oh, you must get that trait from your father'? Well, today I did something rather spontaneous and right away thought to myself, 'wow- that was so much like my mother!'
My mother has one of those uber-maxed-out magnetic personalities that people seem to either be really attracted to or really repelled by. (Kind of like those industrial magnets that you can't unstick with simple human strength when they come together. Or the ones that fly out of your fingers when you try to make the repelling sides meet.) I don't know why there is no happy medium with my mother, but I like to think that the few people who don't click with her just don't understand her. It's their loss, really-- nobody I know is as fun or dynamic as my ma.
Anyway. Yesterday (Tuesday) I was asked at my job to prepare an impromptu 'rally' (that was the actual word that was used in the request) to send off a cyclist who will be biking across Canada to raise money and awareness for a good cause. Fine. Except this well-attended and media-saturated rally was supposed to take place today-- Wednesday-- at 10 in the morning. Right... Because I know a good 50 or 100 people who can just automatically drop their plans or skip out of work/school on a moment's notice to come attend some random rally. Not to mention my best friend the news anchor. And the high-profile journalist. BFF. 'Sure thing, folks at National Office. I'll get right on it.'
I felt bad for the cyclist, knowing he had been told back in Nova Scotia (where he's from) that we would have a big hoopla event waiting for him at Mile Zero. The thing is, I would totally have prepared some big thing for him, but (and this is a rather big 'but') I would have needed more than 19 hours to do it in. Just saying. So I did what I could: I wrangled up a board member, two volunteers, and a friend of a volunteer to come out for a more 'intimate' send-off ('rally' would definitely be the wrong word to use in this case!)
We congregated this morning at around 10 am and waited for the cyclist to show up (thank goodness he did, or his sorry ass would have been kicked all the way back to New Waterford!!) We felt pretty pathetic, shuffling our heels and apologizing to each other for having such a lame five-person send-off. Then, like Q-Tips creeping out of the medicine cabinet, we saw them: a good twenty elderly women, most of them decked out in those (totally happening!) boxy sunglasses that can be worn over the regular glasses (you know the ones I'm talking about). They all came toward us, and then they huddled around the Mile 0 marker, waiting to have their group photo taken!
It turns out they were part of a 'Widow's Walking Group' (and in case you were wondering, no- YCMTSU!). They just happened to be meeting at Mile 0 at the same time we were there to go on their weekly walk. Well... that's when my mother's genes kicked in. I boldly introduced myself, said a few moving words about what a great cause we were supporting today, asked them to hold our agency banner and to pose in front of the marker (it was more like placing the banner in their hands as I rambled on about our agency and this bike tour I knew nothing about!), and then I wheeled the cyclist in front of the perturbed bunch. A few snaps of the digital camera later- et voila! We had a well-attended (if not a media-saturated) send-off event!
If anybody from Calgary had seen me in action this morning, I know exactly what they would have said: "that was totally something your mom would do!" And I would have felt proud. 'Yeah, it was.'