August 13, 2013

Storytelling and a Big Summer Potluck

 Part of the generous breakfast feast at BSP4

I’ve been trying to find my way into a story about the latest Big Summer Potluck. I had an idea that I would write about storytelling itself; the power and magic that’s inherent in hearing someone share something deeply personal, meaningful, or just plain funny.  The way that a room full of half strangers, half friends, can be woven together over tales of beekeeping, bread, ice cream bars and boyfriends.  About why hunger is more than handouts and how determination and a small idea can grow and help create community.  Or maybe the moment when, with a startled gasp, you recognise yourself in the story being told. 

I’ve been thinking the story would be about wearing green to remind myself to be good to the earth; about the incredible will of a lone woman to win over a powerful tortilla machine; about shortbread cookies and rhubarb shrubs.  

Or maybe it would be about once-a-year friendships that rekindle over pulled pork and coconut cake.  About sponsors who give much more than products and prizes.  About generosity of spirit and a welcoming hospitality that’s as big as the state of Pennsylvania and as intimate as a family gathering.
                  The beautiful Anderson home: cool and serene on the outside, 
warm as a bear hug on the inside

As I pour through my too few photos and my fulsome memories, I'm reminded that stories unfold over time and space, that the telling in one place of a singular event might capture the essence, but not the whole.  But that's okay.  Because I know I will be telling stories, as I have already done, about this extraordinary weekend for months to come.
 The official kick-off potluck dinner

Sabra fed us in the morning and gave us great snacks for the 
journey home
 OXO treated all BSP attendees with the tools of their choice and hosted an Instragram contest...

 ...which I won in the Bakers' category! Can't wait to pick out my new OXO tools

With special thanks to:
Maggy, Erika and Pam, our amazing hosts
Joe, Jeni, Jessica, Robyn, Coach Mark, Jessamyn, Brian and Abby,
 our inspiring speakers and teachers
OXO, KitchenAid, Gourmet Garden, and the rest of the generous and delicious sponsors