The other day, I posted a sort of generic, euphoric note of thanks. I needed to get something out there just to say thanks in a kind of a lame way, because I knew it would take some time and perspective to put something together that was befitting of the energy and emotions of this event. I'm slowly getting the perspective. If I live to be 5000 years old, I'll never have the writing skills to express my gratitude. But none of us have that kind of time, so here goes . . .
Everyone who worked with great energy behind the scenes to organize and make this happen, everyone who showed up and gladly handed their money over at the door, everyone who filled up their tank at to drive from another state or the opposite side of this one, everyone who couldn't be there but figured out another way to contribute, everyone who took time out of their day to figure out what what they could donate to the dinner or auction, everyone who stayed up late or got up early to work on their donations, everyone who went out of their way to spread the word, everyone who emailed or called to ask what they could do, everyone who paid a lot more for auction items than they were worth, everyone who heard about Jacque and was moved and decided to get involved . . . to all you 'everyones', you're who I'm thinking about as I write this.
On the Saturday day-before, I was riding around on my bike, doing errands for the event. I picked up a helmet at REI, because it was a no-brainer (pardon the sick pun) that Jacque's parents should donate a safety item for this auction. I rode back downtown and dropped it off at the Wild Sage. There weren't open yet, but Tom was there, and I talked to him for a bit, and there was this really weird anticipatory aura there. It was totally relaxed and totally poised for something big. The calm before the storm. Like he had a big secret about how great this was gonna be. Patty had noticed the same thing in her conversations and visits with Tom. I saddled up and headed off to my next stop - Staples on Ruby and Buckeye.
I was headed there to pick up a digital voice recorder. The grand idea I had was that I was gonna use it to help me remember the names of everyone that showed up on Sunday. See, I have the most terrible, embarassing memory for names, and I wanted to change that, just this once, and be able to somehow be able to list and publicly thank everyone who showed up. Unfortunately, we weren't five minutes into the event when I realized what a dramatically flawed plan I had conceived. I can make you a fantastic deal on a voice recorder, if you are interested.
Next stop was my folks. MAD (Mom And Dad). They're in their 80's. My mom has MS and because that wasn't enough, she had a stroke. Every day is some sort of challenge for them and they're on the one-day-at-a-time plan. But they cope. And a lot of times they do it with a great sense of humor, like on this occasion: There's no way they could possibly, physically, attend an event like this. Mom asks about the donation. I tell her $25 a person at the door. She gives him the eye, and Dad pulls out his wallet and hands me $25. Mom says, "That only covers one person." Homebody Dad says, "I was planning to send you by yourself!" Then, after the laugh, they provide another $100 so that Jacque can have some spending money when we travel to a cousin's wedding next weekend. This kind of generosity is not "special-occasion" for them. It's how they live their lives.
It's getting awfully sappy in here, especially for the guys. It all needs to be said, but I realize it's hard on you and I appreciate that you are hanging in there. I promise to overcompensate and write only goofy drivel for the next week. Maybe something about monster trucks or hunting. But for now, bear with me . . .
To Tom and David and Gary and the crew at the Wild Sage:
There is absolutely, positively, no way this could have happened without your resources and energy. Or to say it another way, no one else could have pulled this off. You know it and I want you to know that I know it. But not only did you pull it off, you pulled it off EXQUISITELY! I know you're not in the business of packing your restaurant to the standing-room-only gills, or running silent auctions, but you guys are all about the customer experience, whether it's 15 or 150, and you do it better than anyone else. 'Thank you' doesn't even come close, but 'thank you'. Patty is also extremely grateful and wanted me to forward this message:
"Chef Alexa, Tom and the Wild Sage crew and company, we are truely grateful to you for creating such a wonderful space where so many Jacque fans showed their love. The auction and buffet were run beautifully! The guest list was amazingly vibrant and we felt honored to greet so many generous folks. Friends and family, Please enjoy the photos from one of the most memorable evenings ever! We thank you for being a part of this community effort and especially for your relationship with Jacque and all that you give her. Many Thanks and Blessings. Patty"
To all the guests and donors:
You'd be listed here, on an honor roll, if only my sad voice recorder plan hadn't hopelessly failed me. But the numbers were just too overwhelming. And it was obviously destined to be something more than just a bunch of individuals filling a room (or list). It morphed into a higher-order human experience. The idea that this diverse assembled bunch of people were there because of their common desire to help Jacque struck us really hard and so I'd like to list the independent groups that came together and then united into one Jacque-mass:
Family & friends, on Patty's side
Family & friends, on Pat Sweet's (dad) side
Family & friends, on Pat Sprute's (step-dad) side
Wild Sage owners, managers, and co-workers
Other Spokane restaurants and workers (most of them being previous employers)
Shriners friends of Patty's
Deaconess friends of Pat Sweet's
Spokane bicycle friends
Those who didn't have a connection but were moved by her story and became involved
It's really hard to describe what you feel as a parent when you see so many people stop everything they are doing to make the trip into downtown to honor and support your daughter. We are so very, very overwhelmed and grateful!
And now, at long last, the moment you've been waiting for - the one where I stop talking!
I leave you with the following message from Jacque:
"The power of people is truly amazing. I am almost left speechless from the success of the ‘Fix Jacque’s Face Feed’ last Sunday at the Wild Sage. My feeling can be best described as ‘high on life’ literally from the energy I encapsulated from all of the people who have stepped up and showed so much compassion to my current situation. I am honored and blessed to have so many beautiful family and friends, friends of family and friends of friends! The chain reaction of love proven on that Sunday was one that blew me away and changed my life forever. Thank you to everyone who shared such genuine acts of kindness towards my benefit and may you be surrounded by the same grace during personal times of need."