Thursday, June 25, 2009

By Carroll: The Gathering of Good Women

In 2003, my husband and I moved from the Minneapolis area to Green Valley, Arizona. It was the right move for us, but adjusting to being in a new place wasn’t easy for me. Even after we’d been there over four years, I didn’t feel like I had a community of women friends. Then I started seeing Diann for massage, and she began introducing me to people she’d connected with over years of living and working in Green Valley.

These very interesting and talented women were also very busy. I decided if I wanted to spend time with them, I would have to make it happen. So I invited some of them over for potluck and evening of conversation. We enjoyed each other's company so much, we decided we should meet again the next month.

That was the beginning of The Gathering of Good Women, an almost monthly evening featuring potluck and some kind of activity or sharing. (Yes, the inspiration for that name came from the title of our series, The Company of Good Women.) Last year, our meeting ended up being the same night of one of the presidential debates, so we included husbands. They enjoyed it so much, we invited them again a couple of months later. Once in a while, the evening is more properly entitled The Gathering of Good People!

While the group of women (and people) who come to my home the last Thursday of the month varies, we always have a wonderful time. Here’s some of the activities we’ve done.

Walked the labyrinth at a local church
Made Zuni-style fetishes from self-hardening clay
Dressed up in 70s clothes and watched Mama Mia
Fixed Indian food and discussed vegetarianism
Collaged the future we wanted to create for the new year.

In May, we had The Great Giveaway. Everyone brought things they no longer needed or used, including jewelry, clothing, books and household items.We put those items on display, and after eating our supper, we looked over what others had brought to see if there were things we could use. I tell you, items flew off the jewelry table and the clothing rack!

Buy the end of the evening, everyone had found things they were thrilled to have, and we all felt lighter for having cleared some space in our own homes. The books that weren’t claimed went to a garage sale being held by a local church. The remaining clothing will go to a local Indian tribe, the Tohono O’Odham, People of the Desert. (The photo is of Ramona, who'd just claimed a beautiful coral necklace that went perfectly with her outfit!)

I’ve been hosting The Gathering of Good Women for almost two years, now. Those evenings have brought a wonderful spirit into our home and has helped me find my community and feel at home in Green Valley.

If you’ve read this whole post, consider hosting a Gathering of Good Women yourself. And if you do, please let me know!