Discovering ‘an attitude of gratitude’

Published 12:31 pm Friday, April 8, 2011

Consistently happy people will tell you that their secret is “an attitude of gratitude” and recent events have swelled my heart into accepting this doctrine with the frenzy of any neophyte.

As you might remember I wrote of my desire to follow the wishes of Prince William and Katherine Middleton that their wedding be celebrated by donations to charities rather than to receive gifts.

This idea inspired me to embrace my English roots and throw a lavish “Wedding Tea” on April 29 for other royalty nuts and donate funds to our local chapter of Mobile Meals.

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It’s a great opportunity to get downright ‘girly’ (something I might do once a decade) and wear spring florals and marvelous hats and coo and exclaim over the whole British wingding.

Now, some folks will say all small towns are known to be helpful and gracious to those in times of need but I truly must gush and declare that the kindest people in the world are planted firmly in Landrum and Tryon.

And it should be noted that none of these people I am about to mention have a clue that I am going to publicly sing their praises and there was never a hint of “you help me and I’ll give you a plug in the local paper.”

They gave without hesitation and, better yet, with great enthusiasm.

Debbie Briggs, owner of Zenzera’s in Landrum, took my phone call and request to host the tea without blinking. Roping in my partner in crime, Shirley Bradley, to help in a ‘brainstorming meeting,’ we three ladies hunkered over the bar at Zenzera’s as we tried to figure out logistics, prices and menu. Here I was blown away by Zenzera chef, Mario Girard, who graciously offered his impressive services with a menu one would expect to see only at The Dorchester in London: Norwegian smoked salmon and caviar, organic fig canapes, lemon curd and freshly baked scones…the rest I will keep as a surprise.

Our next hurdle to clear was where to find a wide-screen television suitable for the event and however could we mount it on the wall above the bar? In a flash, Shirley whipped out her phone and chirped, “I’ll call Johnny Carruth!” And honestly, her conversation went as follows:

“Hello, Johnny? Hi, this is Shirley Bradley. Fine, hon, how are you? Listen, Johnny, we’re throwing a benefit at Zenzera’s for Mobile Meals to watch the Royal Wedding and we’re trying to figure out where we might find a wide-screen…you will? Really! Oh, thanks so much, Johnny! See you tomorrow, then!”

As word began to spread around the community of the upcoming event, a few people would stop me here and there to voice their excitement about attending. One of them, Libbie Johnson, called over to me from her SUV.

“I’d like to help,” she began, then gestured to the woman sitting next to her. “Pam, this is Gillian Drummond and she is a wonderful interior designer and she’d like to help, too.”

I thanked them mightily and then Gillian took it upon herself to telephone Randy Grobe at ‘The Frog and Swan’ and send out an appeal for some lovely vintage china from which we could serve our tea and goodies.

“I should have plenty!” said Randy when I phoned my thanks. “I’ll just go through what I have and put together a box for you.”

Consider today’s column a love letter to you all. The help offered came from the very best place: the pure desire to give with no expectation to receive anything else in return.

Regardless of how many reservations we receive I feel we are already experiencing heady success. Now the real fun begins: the decorating, the trawling through our local shops for a hat (you must wear a hat, dear) and the anticipation of the shimmering pageantry that only England can produce. Hope to see you in April!

Comedienne Pam Stone writes her column for The Tryon Daily Bulletin twice each month from her office at her home in Gowensville.