Winner, Winner, Family Dinner…    by    Rory Andes

For the last several years, I’ve spent every Saturday night quilting for a program that ultimately donates to the local homeless shelters and charities. Two years ago, I went through a pretty brutal time in my life and my friend Donnie, whom I quilted with, helped walk me back to my sanity during those Saturdays. He was a great sounding board and mentored me into another program that helped me identify how fear and anxiety had impacted my life. Those times with Donnie in that sewing room, talking about hurts and how life works, became “Men’s Night”. And it lasted until Donnie went home.

When he went, his cellmate, our beloved lightning rod Marshall, took his place. Marshall took Men’s Night to the next level. It was all about sewing quilts, listening to love songs on a sappy-as-shit radio show, and lamenting on the joys and pains of loves that have come and gone. From the outside looking in, it’s completely ridiculous and so much fun. Then another spot in the room opened for that coveted Saturday night and Ruth was the only one who could still make that space count the way it did. But, with the addition of the feminine element, Marshall and I struggled with Men’s Night. We had it for so long, but what else do we call it?

Marshall suggested a new name and recently we came up with something that makes my heart warm when I think about how important both of these two people are to me… “Family Dinner”. Every Saturday night is now Family Dinner and it’s still a space where we get to be the best of friends, we dream together, discuss the week, and get real with each other about what’s going on in our independent lives…. and eat something, just like a family that meets once a week for dinner. Of course, we still sew for the much needy community at large.

With the balance of this space being challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, every Saturday means so much more right now and the conversations in that space so much more important. Tonight we were able to meet, but I know that we may be living on borrowed time for the sake of ours and the institution’s safety. So tonight it was a simple victory for the three of us to meet the best way we know… Winner, Winner, Family Dinner.

by Rory Andes

Enjoy the people you have, when you have them….

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Rory Andes 367649
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