I enjoy starting groups with names—groups of good people who come together to do good things, usually over a meal, that I then name fun names. In college, my best friend Liz and I began a ministry for college students home for the summer in our town. After college, I started a writing group with the people I sort of lived with at the time. Right now, I am proud founder of two fun groups: SOCRG (a Catholic Catechism reading/dinner group) and RunBrunchClub (think about it).
This is a story about a fateful RunBrunchClub mid-morning. First off, RunBrunchClub was a solution to a very significant problem in Waco, Texas: an alarming lack of brunch. As those of you in Waco, Texas know, there are a couple delicious breakfast options here, a number of delicious lunch options, and a terrifying black hole of absence where their beautiful love child brunch should be. I’m all for Waco, don’t get me wrong, but I am also all for brunch. So, some friends and I decided to take matters in our own hands. Also, to trick ourselves into getting some exercise while we were at it. Thus, RunBrunchClub: a Saturday morning staple for a handful of great young women since…a handful of months ago.
Most often, RunBrunchClub has consisted of a short but grueling trail run in the lovely, steep, steep hills of Cameron Park followed by some sort of brunch at the undeniably fantastic Jenny’s house. This fateful Saturday, however, it consisted of a couple friends making me feel pathetic (running around the neighborhood) and enjoying some simple scones and coffee at my place. On some awesome penguin plates.
As we sat around waiting to cool off enough to consume anything but water after our 100˚ Texas run, I got out my extra special tea/coffee/jams tray and unloaded some fig, peach, apricot, currant-pomegranate, and other jams for us to choose from (jealous?). Eventually we sat down to enjoy the whole wheat cinnamon and lemon cranberry scones I had baked earlier that morning. Obviously, exclamations of delight followed. Also, daydreams I’ve often been a part of: “You should start a bakery and call it ‘To Each His Scone.’”
I had never heard that particular name before, but I do frequently participate in imaginary businesses, foundations, institutions, and living arrangements. This one seemed simpler than the bookstore-coffee shop-bakery-home-for-unwed-mothers or the university that would accommodate fifteen English professor friends from the same graduate program. Then it got simpler, turning into this blog that I for once followed through on. So, that was the fatefulness of the day. More important was the company.
These young ladies are the kind of people who surprise you in a good way. They’re clearly cool kids, which can be intimidating, but they’re cool kids who care about much more important things than being cool. Julie (with the water bottle) is a beautiful, beer-drinking, cello-playing, deadpan humor machine. She’s the kind of person you quickly learn to sit next to in order to catch the wit and delightfulness that she carelessly dispenses in understated side comments. She is also (if I can say it) selflessly devoted to improving the lives of young people through some pretty hard work. While in Waco she has taken on huge responsibility at her church’s youth group and has worked for years at the Talitha Koum Institute, teaching at-risk kids living in one of Waco’s government housing neighborhoods. Very impressive, I know.
Grace (the coffee sipper) is similarly impressive. A beautiful, warm, enthusiastic, encourager of good things, she is the kind of person who will head-in-the-cloudsedly have every imaginary business, foundation, institution, living arrangement conversation you’d like…then turn around and found her own non-profit offering art education to government housing kids before even graduating from college. Waco Arts Initiative, look it up.
The mere facts of these young women’s lives are inspiring to me, not to mention their self-deprecating honesty and general pleasantness to be around. They are part of what makes Waco a not-lame place to be associated with. They’re also why I like food so much and the reason things like RunBrunchClub can be in any way important. I mean, not them specifically (that would be weird), but good friends in general. Food is a very significant thing. Like other significant things, it is only properly understood in relation to God and to people. Also like other significant things, it can be badly misused and misrepresented. It can be dangerous, but that does not mean we need fear it like the gyms and dieters who tell us that “food is fuel.” Like hell it is. Fuel!? Am I a machine? Food does far more than just keep our bodies going. Food is intimately related to charity, hospitality, community, and other big huge words. Cooking and sharing a meal can and should be an act of love, and I think that’s why so many people write these stupid blogs. At least, that’s why I do.
Back to Julie and Grace: sadly, I have known both of them for years and years but have only begun spending significant time with them recently. This is a regret because they are both leaving to start some serious new life graduate work. Ah, the joys and sorrows of Waco, Texas. Julie will be studying social work in Austin and Grace will be studying art administration in New York. I’m guessing the Talitha-Koum-working, Waco-Arts-Initiative-forming ladies are going to have a bit more experience than most of their peers. Represent.
Tune in soon for a shorter post containing the scone recipe. I mean, just look at them: