Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MCC Minus Mom

The MCC sale (more specifically West Coast Mennonite Relief Sale and Auction) happens every year at Fresno Pacific University. All funds go to support the Mennonite Central Committee who provides relief for people all over the world(United States included.)
From my early days the MCC sale has been a significant part of my year. My mom would push me in the stroller in the run/walk, then it was a huge deal when I walked too! In my elementary years I would spend a good chunk of time in the kids area, and when I got older it was so exciting that Dad would hand us a bill and say "Don't come back with change." We would then be allowed to roam and buy all kinds of goodies(little toys from the Thousand Village Shop, potted plants made from cuttings, twenty five cent books, funnel cake, balloon animals, homemade ice cream...you get the drift.
Once we were more on the independent side, mom would head straight to the quilt auction to meet her friends. We always knew where she was. Right at the top with all her friends. We'd go check in and sometimes she'd even let us hold her number and do some of her bidding. (Bidding is such a rush folks, you should come try it next year if you don't believe me.) We'd bring her food so she didn't have to miss a thing. In the last two or three years she was part of a group that spear headed having a quilter read a description and "sell" the quilt a little bit  better that the auctioneer might. There were a couple years I didn't make it to the auction and she would call me and tell me all about it. She loved that the better descriptions might be helping the quilt go for a higher price. Mom took her responsibility to make sure the quilts go for a fair market very seriously. She would bid people up and then stick em with it and feel so accomplished. Sure, we've got a few MCC quilts in our closets as a result now, but that's not the point. The point is that more quilts went for more money. Mom knew so many people at the sale. We'd stop and talk to people and if I didn't find out how I knew them or who they were from the conversation Mom would remind me after as we were about to start a conversation with someone new walking up.
This year I was very excited about the sale, primarily because of the auction, sausage, zwiebach and fritters. On might say I had sort of tunnel vision on the food. Later a couple people asked me if I was nervous because I'd see so many  family friends. Reality sort of set in. Don't get me wrong, family friends are great. They've been so supportive during this time, but right now I'm sort of in busy mode. Stay busy, laugh a lot and enjoy who you're with now.  I tossed a hat into my purse on the way out the door, just in case I sort of got tired of being recognized. We got there I realised there were  a LOT of people who knew mom and recognized me. Any other year I'd be thrilled and chat, but a lot of people had the same questions and I wasn't quite prepared to deal. I needed a publicist.
What I got was better. My dear friend Dani D. went out and got a black eye just for us

 (Val, my sister and me.) NOW when we were walking around people would see us and feel sad, then they'd see Dani and think "What happened?" in a matter of seconds. NOW when people would come up to talk they'd say "How are y...(see Dani here) What happened?!" It was nice. I knew they cared, and Dani immediately changed the subject. She must have known how useful it would be and told the girl on the opposing team to be sure to elbow her in the eye. 20 sugar coated fritters later, and a friend with a black eye...life is great. Needless to say, Friday night around 9 I crashed down from my sugar rush and promptly fell asleep.
The next day Val and I did our part and went to the auction. Val bid on and bought a quilt this year and she calls it "All the Reasons Bears are Better Than Children." Valerie is a bear lover and she just couldn't pass this one up. I now recognize many of the artists who made the quilts which is exciting. My friend Cindy made a quilt that had a gazillion pieces and it sold for $3,700. She has some great pictures of the sale and even a clip here.
Truly though, I had a great time. Next year will be a bit better, and the year after that will be better yet. Someday I too will have a quilt in the auction and be describing the incredible masterpieces to the bidders at the quilt auction, continuing the legacy mom left for me.


Grandma G said...

What are good friends for, if not for doing special things like getting black eyes for the right occasions? Cool! (And funny.)

Glad you had a great time at the sale. Wish I'd been there! :)

Jenny said...

Sorry we missed you guys at the sale. Our time was a little rushed due to our little ones. I'm wondering if the quilt Valerie bought was embroidered bears done by my grandma?

JHRME said...

It was a panel, hand quilted, I can't remember who by.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you were able to enjoy yourself, Jess! And way to take one for the team, Dani!

Lisa said...

Jess, I'm sorry I missed you...I got to catch up with Val a bit though on Friday night.

That Dani is such a good friend! She just gives, gives, gives! ;)

Love and miss you,

Tanya said...

Thank God for Dani, for hats, for fritters, for quilts!

The Luedtke Family said...

It is always difficult as the friend or bystander to determine to say nothing, ask questions, mention some memory, or just converse about the present day. I think some people are asking for their own sadness, and some people are being brave and showing genuine care for you and may not always know to say what you perfectly need to hear at the moment. I think it was wonderful to be surrounded by fond and familiar friends. And each year will get better.

I think it is very brave to up-bid without the intent of buying. Go Valerie. And I think it is very brave to donate a handmade item for the public to determine value. Go Jessica!

Dani said...

I'm so glad my black eye came in handy! And that I have great friends like both of you. I look forward to many more MCC sales. Val and I can help bid up your quilts, because we all know we won't be making any :)

Little Spouse on the Prairie said...

The term for a person posing as a customer is a "shill". That is so fun but can get you into trouble. You have inspired me again to write! See me at my blog. Continued love and prayers- Janice