June 1, 2013 was the day this year that we recognized my annual thanks to friends and family… originally inspired by the support I had in Arkansas after I woke from a 6-week coma and started the years of therapy and healing that were necessary to recovery from a brain injury. I figure that once a year we (Tim & I) can provide a place to relax and a reason to congregate, splurge on dinner (in Arkansas it was fried catfish; in Toronto it’s grilled pizza) and beer, and enjoy each others’ presence. I thought of it this year as something of a personal parallel to “Ford Fest” here in Toronto (CBC, 2012). The differences, of course: the Fords are celebrating their power and their “worldly” richness, while I’m celebrating much more our interpersonal richness and what we have in spite of our need.
Each year I worry about the party enormously: usually my biggest concern is that people actually show up and that we have enough food. This year it was because there was a storm system moving through Ontario that threatened to pour rain on our grills (we used two of our three yesterday) and put a damper (quite literally) on the party. But the storms stayed away and the party shifted between the living room and the patio (with BBQ) all evening. It all worked well and everyone seemed satisfied… both with respect to food and to connections. There are a few images on my Flickr site that illustrate the evening.
Every year I try to take pictures; then I get busy and the next year I’m always surprised that I took so few. This year I noticed an interesting interface between my natural introversion and my desire to support and interact with my friends. Normally I plan smaller events, so I can actually engage with guests and talk to them. At larger events I normally “hide” behind my camera, taking pictures to remember; this year I hovered in the kitchen, rolling out the dough for the pizzas. I had a wonderful time and got to talk to everyone at some point in the evening; but I also got to withdraw whenever I wanted and work quietly (though quickly!) in the kitchen. And I made several plans to get together with guests later to actually catch up. I guess that’s how I manage to be a successful introvert in a world of extroverts.