Sunday, March 4, 2012
Today was the annual Rotary Pancake Breakfast in my home town of Moorestown, NJ. I'm not sure how many years this event has been held, but it's at least 25 or 30. The event is co-sponsored by the two Rotary clubs in town - the Afternoon club and the Breakfast club to which I belong. It's a fun event and is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year.
Working alongside nearly 100 other Rotarians, I spent the morning pouring coffee, cleaning tables, putting out place settings, and chatting with lots of guests from all over town. In addition to simply performing my assigned jobs and being nice to people, I tried to look for opportunities to be of extra assistance. Since the breakfast draws in buses of seniors from local assisted-living communities, there were plenty of people who needed just that little bit of extra help - things like opening a container of syrup, finding a packet of Equal, or getting an extra napkin. These weren't anything major, but done quietly and gently, they made enjoying the breakfast that much easier for some guests.
As I left the breakfast, I was thinking about all the people I had seen and talked with who I know from so many different circles - neighbors, teachers, high school classmates, Rotarians, running friends, golfing friends, business acquaintances, and even a family for whom I babysat more than 30 years ago! I suppose it's that sense of community, of connectedness, that draws many people to small towns like ours. I wonder if it's in our DNA to want/need those connections, and I wonder what impact our largely transient society and its lack of connectedness has on people. Perhaps that's why social media sites like Facebook have become so popular. In some ways, they help satisfy the need for community in a fast-paced, mobile world. It's still hard to beat chatting with people face-to-face, though.