Friday, August 31, 2007
Declan Johnson Benefit
When Robin and I arrived at the Klahn farm outside of Brooklyn for our share of "The Day On the Farm" benefit to raise funds for Declan Johnson's medical expenses, the shindig was already in full swing. I knew this was going to be a success.
The band was playing some old croony tune by John Denver; kids were already stalking each other in the haybale maze. Tents were set up for button making, stuffed-animal making, ticket selling, snow-cones and popcorn. Inside the spacious old barn were racks of deer antlers displayed high above in the rafters, along with old tractor seats and farm tools. A large cross was leaning against the wall on the far side. In a corner to the right, a slide show of Declan and his amazing but short life was showing. A long table held the goodies: roast pork, beans, the fixin's of a good ole meal. To our left along the wall were the "silent auction" items. Down the middle of the barn was a line of tables holding desserts. Oh, just too much to take in all at once! Where to start?
Robin and I started with the silent auction, working our way down the line and occasionally writing our name and a bid on the sheets beside each item. Robin saw a stained-glass turtle night light that caught her fancy. It was priced at $20; she started the bidding at, I dunno, five bucks, I think. By the time that particular auction ended, she'd rebid seven times, and came up with the winning bid of $33. I kinda looked at her, since I was paying for it. "Well Dad! It's for a good CAUSE!" Yes, that it is.
For myself, I zeroed in on the set of deluxe Brewers tickets and the box of handy dandy MRE's (Meals Ready To Eat). Some friends can expect one of these in their stockings some time soon.
We chowed down, then did the maze. At one point Robin grabbed my camera and started snapping. At another point she disappeared, and I found her working the button stand. Scott Mikkelson from Faith Lutheran had nabbed her; put her to work.
It was a glorious day: not too hot with blue-skies; little puffs of white cloud. It had rained for forty days and forty nights just prior to this event, and relented just for the day, starting in again on Monday. A miracle? You make the call.
They tell me something like $20,000 was raised that day, a little dent in a family's medical bills. Toward the end of the afternoon, some of the bigger ticket items were sold in a live auction. Someone had donated a nice oak rocking chair. Joe Moll and another woman got into a serious bidding war over this, and eventually Joe won the rocker at a price of $350. And then he gave it to the lady bidding against him.
That was the kind of a day that it was.