Last night I went to dinner.
Um, DK…that’s really not so much of a great blog topic.
No wait. Really. Stick with me here.
Last night, I went to dinner with my beautiful bride and a bunch of friends to one of our most super fun favorite restaurants in York, PA. This place is called Tutoni’s and it is owned and operated by a husband and wife duo who we super love (Hi Tony & Toni! …see why it’s called “Tutoni’s” now?). The reason for the dinner was that all of us who were there last night won this in a live auction during a fundraiser that builds funds for the City of York to be able to host many of our city-wide public events throughout the course of the year. “A Taste of York City” dinner and auction is one of the main reasons that other events like live music during lunch hour in a downtown public pocket park, a New Year’s Eve event, York Bike Night, and one of the coolest art experiences in the area (a little event called Yorkfest Fine Arts Festival) can all happen for the community. So this dinner was a way to raise funds for some great happenings throughout the year in York. And that by itself might be a cool reason to blog about an evening out.
But that’s not the reason why I’m writing this either. I’m telling you about my dinner last night because of a concept called “home.”
See during the course of the evening as we were all chit-chatting, getting drinks, and finding places to sit (our table was group-styled, U-shaped…so it gave an appearance like we were about to call the meeting to order, gavel in, and then review the board minutes.)… but shortly after, we began to one-by-one “introduce” ourselves to the entire group and give one reason why we loved York so much. It really did have the feel of every ice breaker exercise you ever experienced on Day One of Annual Conference [Insert Your Industry/Field Here]. It could have been blah and that moment when we all collectively sighed a little heavier than normal and mutter to ourselves (“oy.. I so don’t want to do these silly exercises that everyone here hates.”)… admit it, you’ve said that almost EVERY TIME a meeting organizer breaks out the “ice breaker game/activity”, c’mon admit it!
But then people told their stories.
Some were funny, some were poignant. Some had been born and raised in York and the surrounding York County, PA. Others of us told of our journey that brought us to The White Rose City. As the stories kept coming, I began to think to myself…
“These are all about home.”
No matter the reasoning, no matter the time between visits to York or the multiple moves in and out of York.. one constant was evident in the stories… home. York was a home. OUR home. And the pride that people had in sharing the transformation from what it once stood for, into what is stood for now… was truly amazing.
I talk a TON about The Connection Economy and building community by building our connections, and those beliefs are so strong in me there are times I feel like I’m “Caine” from the TV show Kung Fu, wandering the countryside sharing my beliefs and stories to anyone who will listen. But there are these moments where all the planning, meetings, conferences, videos, talks, and debates are shaped by these pockets of “guerilla humanity” – you don’t see it coming, but it hits you like a ton of bricks.
Each one of us at the table was sharing his/her story, and that story brought us all back to relive our own journeys… and brought us back home.
I didn’t even realize what I had said until afterward when my Way-Better-Half Korey said in the car that I had said a nice line going into a group toast following the last person’s intro. “What did I say?” I asked my wife.
So thank you Tutoni’s for hosting such a wonderful dinner. Thank you to my friend J.J. Sheffer and her team for putting on “A Taste of York City” that gave us all the place to bid on this dinner experience and assemble us to share our stories. And thank you to my fellow dinner-goers from last night. Thank you for connecting our individual journeys to our collective community. The power of connection is often felt in places and spaces that are designed with the spectacle in mind: big community events, sports contests, large assemblies.
But community can be built across the table, with some wine and great food…and especially with the love of friends (old and new).