Day Seventeen was kind of a big one for me and the 29 Gifts project, but there’s a bit of a story to it. One of the major roads in our community is under construction, being widened to accommodate the additional traffic because the area has grown by leaps and bounds. It’s much-needed improvement, but for the businesses along that stretch of road, it’s been catastrophic, with many of them losing trees that are probably a century old and some even having to close up shop for good. Before I’d even read the book or heard of the 29 Gifts idea, I had promised a friend that I would host a private after-hours party at his jewelry store, a lovely place along that road. And though I’m not a big bling purchaser, I planned a champagne and chocolate evening that was designed to introduce a new group to my friend’s beautiful shop with no pressure to purchase anything.
I asked everyone to check in and tag themselves at the shop, and I asked them to try on anything they wanted and please take and post photos on whatever social media outlet they chose. They might not want to buy an item, but by taking and posting their photos, they would introduce others to the shop and its unique wares. Before the party, I made Andes Candies fudge, which is to say chocolate mint layered fudge. I also made a chocolate and cream cake, seven layer bars, and a variety of truffles. The jeweler provided the champagne, and we were off.
What a wonderful, fun time it was with an eclectic group of women who just came to be supportive, drink champagne, eat chocolate, and have fun. It was truly like being given permission to root around in Grandma’s jewelry box and try on any and everything that struck your fancy. And we all tried stuff on, took photos, played and laughed. One thing I found especially nice was if someone tried on something that didn’t suit them or that they felt would look good on someone else, they automatically put the piece on someone else’s neck or called them over to give it a try. There was no jealousy or territory stuff going on – it was just fun.
At one point, I collected everyone’s rings in a big pile in my hands and took them all back to be cleaned. When I came back through to return the rings, everyone was so busy having fun that they’d scarcely thought about how they simply handed over their rings without asking a single question or worrying for a moment. It was terrific. My mom tried on a lovely necklace at the start of the evening and just continued wearing it all night long. Just as they were putting it away, I asked the sales clerk to keep it out, and I bought it for my mom as a surprise, but I let her think Dan had done it himself. She was tickled.
Someone put a giant amber and silver necklace on me at one point, and though it was really beautiful, I saw the price and didn’t even consider it. But Dan did. After the evening was all done and we’d wrapped up all the jewelry, candies, and goodies for everyone to take home, Dan and Mom and I stopped for a slice of pizza, and Dan surprised my mom with her necklace and then me with the beautiful amber necklace I’d been wearing. When I went back through the photos this morning, the amber necklace made its way through many other necks before gracing mine, which somehow made Dan’s buying it for me even more special.
My gift today was to give someone else a little bit of support in the way of a ‘cash mob’ event, and that was a lot of fun and a genuinely good gift to share – especially since I have so little desire to be around people – particularly during the summer down time months. But what a wonderful surprise to be the one receiving gifts of laughter, smiles, hugs, encouragement, and jewelry from all those who came out to play and support a local business.
Each day I seem to find that giving always comes back as a gift. After all, I had looked at the price on the amber necklace and decided without even taking a breath that I couldn’t afford it no matter how much I loved it. Yet when Dan gave it to me as a gift, I didn’t tense up or worry that we couldn’t afford it or get mad that he hadn’t discussed it with me; I just accepted it with gratitude and knowledge that that money will come back to us somehow and bless someone else’s life, too. Seventeen days and counting, and I still think this is a very worthy experiment.