Yesterday, my RWA chapter was having a special full-day workshop featuring the very talented Mary Balogh. As everybody who's not been climbing the Himilayas or otherwise out of touch with the world knows, Hurricane Katrina has left destruction in its wake, including considerable loss to our sister RWA members in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
This past February, my husband and I were at Mardi Gras. Aside from making me feel like I'd wandered into a giant frat party when it's been, ahem, several years since I graduated from university, we also found ourselves with 18 pounds of Mardi Gras beads. These were the "real deal" -- tossed from floats by maskers or from balconies. (And NO, I did NOT "flash" for any beads -- I went with begging. My husband, bless his heart, totally worked the "silver fox" angle on the ladies.) My husband insisted we bring all 18 pounds home, even though it meant buying another suitcase. I confess I thought he was nuts.
But one day, after watching the news from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, I thought of all those beads languishing in a cupboard, and a lightbulb went on in my brain. Yesterday, I took most of them to the workshop and offered them in exchange for donations to help our sister chapters. There were about fifty people there, and I'm so proud and impressed by their generosity. I received just over $400 in donations.
But there's more! In addition to giving us a wonderfully inspirational workshop, Mary Balogh brought copies of her books and is donating all the money from the sale of those books to the Red Cross. I tell ya, she is not only a fantastic writer, she is truly a kindhearted and generous lady.
My only regret is that I didn't think to bring a camera, because I didn't expect everybody to wear the beads. And they did. All day. I wish I had a group picture, but even so, it was a day I won't soon forget.