Monday, February 20, 2006

Our weekend in Lincoln, NE

Oh, did I fail to mention we were traveling to Nebraska this weekend? Just a little spontaneous excursion to visit my aunt and uncle, try out some Omaha steaks, and swing by a convenience mart to buy a Powerball ticket. Though we are hardly big gamblers and almost never play the lottery, we just couldn't resist! We haven't checked those numbers yet. Hmmm....wonder if someone won big!

OK, truth time--we DID buy a Powerball ticket, but we did so in Rhode Island. And of our two "quick pick" draws, we only had one number TOTAL. What did those two dollars buy us, then? Entertainment, focus and perspective. Let me explain how.

Thanks to a very agreeable Auntie Heather, Matt and I had Saturday afternoon and evening completely to ourselves to spend as we wished. We went to "Ye Old Grist Mill" for lunch (a local restaurant built, you guessed it, in the frame of an old mill!), saw "Match Point" (clever, we're both in love with Scarlett Johannsen, but I could do without the proximity of the film's themes to so much of what we read day in day out in the news headlines), and then went out to dinner at another favorite local pub. Bite after delicious bite, we entertained ourselves by contemplating just how we would spend our winnings. This July marks our tenth anniversary, and we planned an elaborate celebration to which you are all invited....or at least you would have been if we had indeed been in Lincoln, NE this weekend. In our imagination we rented out the entire Otesaga Resort Hotel. We married in Cooperstown, after all, and it remains our favorite place on earth--seems appropriate to celebrate our union with a return trip. Your options for entertainment? The golfers amongst us might enjoy a round at the Leatherstocking Golf Course right on Lake Otsego. If baseball is more your game, try a day's pass at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Museums are your fancy? Never fear--Cooperstown has plenty! Try the Farmer's Museum if you have kids; it's always a favorite with young and old alike. If art is your passion, check out the Fenimore Art Museum. OK, enough links already! Can you sense how we feel about this town? In our dream anniversary celebration, we had dozens of musical artists performing nightly on the lake, three consecutive nights of fireworks, picnics catered by our favorite barbecue joints in central New York, day-long waterski adventures on the lake. I could go on and on....the dream of the celebration was nearly as pleasureable as the real one might have been--or more, considering it was a lot less work (and only $2!).

Our daydreams shifted from celebrations to how we might engage in the real work of the world. Of course we would establish a charitable foundation, inviting a few close friends, family and associates to join us in this venture! We discussed at length the core issues that hold the most meaning for us. The empowerment of women and girls tops both our lists, but what particular angle should we take? I'm passionate about dialogue across differences and would want to support the work of an organization like The Public Conversations Project. We would make a significant gift to our church, and we'd love to buy a local lot used only occasionally by a utility company to make a park and basketball court for our neighborhood, where too many children use the streets as their playground in the absence of grass and yards. Where to next? Would we establish a summer camp and retreat center for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender youth and their allies? Would we support college scholarships for a particular population? Gosh, what should we give to our current college employer, and how long must we appropriately stay before slipping out for world travel and foundation work? Without "need" for work, our desire to continue engaging in meaningful work in the world certainly brought focus to how we want to spend our time in the here and now.

And the perspective we gained? At the conclusion of our brownie sundae, hours into the imaginary spending of this mass fortune, we realized that some of our deepest, most present challenges would persist in the face of great wealth, and we would gain new challenges we can't currently foresee. We would still struggle to love who we are, to really be where we are, to accept our present circumstances always while working toward a brighter future, and so on. Would I trade places with this anonymous NE resident or visitor to Lincoln? Not for an instant, but my dear partner is likely another story!

And speaking of stories from this partner, eventually they will come. I have mentioned to him that we are likely giving you an accurate sense of the extravert/introvert balance as it plays out in communication in our home!

1 comment:

Kristen said...

I spent $1 on a powerball ticket with a group from work. I assume we didn't win, because I'm thinking someone would have said something. I didn't even bother to check! Wouldn't it be funny if I won and didn't even know it?