Recently, I went to a fundraiser for a hospital in East Timor. I knew absolutely nothing about East Timor.
Now, I know that East Timor is just over 600 kilometres off the coast of Darwin. I also know there is great diving there! And that the roads can be quite dangerous. I know that people get tapeworm because they keep pigs as pets and then kill them and eat them! Ok, that's all I really know about East Timor!
The fundraiser was for the Bairo Pite Hospital. The clinic is supported by Australia and is always in desperate need of funds and volunteers. It was confronting to eat and watch images of sick kids. I was left with that feeling of despair that there are so many needy people in the world, and so much injustice, but also with a positive feeling that on the flip side there are so many good people willing to help.
During dinner, I was looking around at the people in the room. People "give" for various reasons, some genuine, some self-serving. I felt an energy in the room that suggested these people were genuine. They were mostly an older crowd, with grownup children, many of whom were there, sitting at their own table.
I am really really bad at small talk, but I made an effort and muddled my way through. When dinner was over, however, that's when the real magic happened.
The event had a DJ, and, as I suspected, the music was of the "wedding" variety! My musical tastes are a little less mainstream. As soon as the music began playing, however, almost the entire crowd jumped up from their seats and swamped the dance floor. I sat in my chair completely gobsmacked! I've seen people run for buffets like that, but never a dance floor!! It's been a while since I've danced, so I wasn't sure if I was up to it. Then, a woman caught my eye. I can still picture her clearly.
She was wearing a safari-style outfit, pants and a jacket, with a nice blouse. Her hair had the "permed" look about it, but it suited her perfectly. She was immaculate. It was as though she'd stepped right out of the 70s, perfectly preserved. What caught my attention, more than her clothes even, was the smile on her face. She was having an absolute ball! She was dancing up a storm, and there was a look of happiness and joy on her face that made me feel so hopeful, so full of love. I dispensed with my dancing anxieties and took to the floor. I just had to be near her! I felt her energy, her passion. I fell in love with her style, her absolute grooviness!
I don't know who my polyester nanna is, or where she lives, or even if she is a nice person! But I will never forget her smile. Rock on, Nanna, rock on!