Stuck. Again. Sigh.
Time for a break. I decided to take care of a few errands. I walked down to one of my local tasting rooms, Berryessa Gap Winery.
Happily, in Winters, even though you walk downtown on your own, you don’t have to taste alone.
I ran into a couple in their 70’s that I haven’t seen for awhile. They’ve been organizing a local voter registration event. I’ve been working on our Friends of the Library membership drive and picnic. We commiserated about being too busy.
A lull in the conversation usually prompts, “ So, what’s Dale up to?”
I try not to brag, really. But I’m excited about the places he’s been, and proud of the work he’s doing. After I enthuse, I always try to express gratitude for whatever contribution to Dale’s life these specific people, or Winters, may have had. For I do believe it in the best of all worlds, it takes a community to raise and educate kids, and do it well. Lucky us!
Dale volunteered with these folks during the ‘08 Obama campaign. They welcomed his exuberant, youthful energy and technical know how. They asked about his travels, the Thiel Fellowship, how his ideas about UnCollege are being received They wondered how he handles confrontation or dismissiveness because of his age.
We reminisced about our lives, their children, grandchildren, and Dale’s adventures. We discussed which experiences we considered pivotal to helping a person find success once they go out in the world.
They mentioned seeing Dale in plays, helping at Youth Day, and selling flowers and photos to earn money for jazz camp. (One of his first sales took place at the very same winery, many moons ago.)They complimented the values and work ethic we instilled in Dale.
But, it wasn’t all us. Lots was him. And this community. Even though at times our rural location and small population seemed limiting.
“ The best thing we gave Dale is that he belonged. We accepted him. Of course kids get that in their family. But they need to have it beyond the family to learn that they can go out in the world and that they are ok.”
She got the BIGGEST smile and sparkle in her eye.
“ WE did that. Winters does that for people. When I moved away to Virginia and had to deal with new people, I had confidence because I knew people liked and respected me in Winters. If they didn’t like me in Virginia, well I knew I was ok. He learned that here. If other people don’t like his ideas, that’s their problem. We show people they belong, and that’s good. It helps them do things.”
I had writer’s block.
I went to my community.
They showed me I belonged. Gave me encouragement and confidence to do things.
And it is good.
Where do you and your kids belong? What does community do for you?
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