Last night, Clif and I went to a victory party to celebrate the expansion of the Charles M. Bailey Library. It was a potluck—my favorite kind of party—hosted by Pearl and George Ames, two members of the campaign team.
The food, of course, was delicious, and I ate way more than I should have. I even indulged in a hamburger, and I can’t remember the last time I ate beef. We don’t eat it at home, but if we go to somebody’s house, and beef is served, then we will eat it. I must admit that hamburger tasted mighty good.
But better than the food—and you can bet this foodie never thought she’d be writing that anything could be better than food—was the spirit of the campaign team. There are about fifteen people in the core group, women and men who not only love the library but who have been willing to work hard to make the addition a reality. And it was very hard work. To raise a million dollars in a town of six thousand people is not easy, especially when the town is a middle-class community—a macaroni-and-cheese kind of town, as I like to call it.
In the process of working together for over three years, of facing and overcoming setbacks, something rather wonderful happened. We have bonded together as a team and have become completely comfortable with each other. It doesn’t always work that way, and what a blessing when it does. It also goes to show what people can do when they work together, when they put time and energy into a project. This energy can be such a force of good when directed toward the right cause.
And the library expansion was most definitely a right cause. The other day, when I returned a movie, I looked around. In the reading area with its blue chairs and barn-board table, a man was reading the paper, and a woman was reading a book. Nearby, at the computer tables, there were few empty seats. People talked quietly together, and the library was filled with a happy sound. In the stacks, patrons looked for books. Bailey Library has always been an important part of this community, but now, with the expansion, it is truly the center of the community.
At the party, I chatted with various team members. I learned that Roger had been in the Peace Corps, and French was Bob’s first language. I talked about painting and art with Penny while my husband discussed biking with her husband.
As Mary Jane, the chair of the trustees, put it, “Along with helping to raise money for the new addition, I also made such good friends.”
How glad I am that I have come to know and work with these people, to call them friends. And how proud I am of what we have achieved together.