Recently I went with a dear older woman from my congregation to the local annual luncheon of the National Council of Women. Joan had invited me along so that I might meet some women (and men --husbands along for a good lunch) in the community. I was also invited to offer the grace before the meal.
In order to prepare a grace appropriate for the occasion, I asked Joan as we drove into the church hall car park what the mission of the NCW was. It originated out of the suffragist movement 100 or so years ago and since has been involved in all manner of important work on behalf of women, children and now families --everything from women's education and advancement in the workplace, child labor, housing, poverty issues, to more recently the trafficking of women and children for the sex trade. Serious stuff.
At their annual luncheon they always have a speaker. I inquired who the speaker would be today, anticipating that we would be offered fairly dense food for thought from someone addressing a significant public policy issue in the UK or internationally. I thought, wow, glad I came.
Joan's answer was "I think it is someone talking about fancy pepper pots." I must have looked a bit confused. "You know, salt and pepper shakers." Umm. okay. "They usually try to keep in quite light for these annual luncheons."
So, after a lovely lunch and a quick raffle of various boxes of chocolates, a few bottles of wine and a miniature tea set, our speaker was introduced. Forget his name, but his title is what has stuck with me.....
Dun dun dun dun! Introducing.....
The Chairman of the British Novelty Salt and Pepper Set Collectors Club (and he has been on tv --excuse me --the tele)
Yes, it's Religion and Politics one day. Salt and Pepper shakers the next. What a journey.
I did actually learn a few things (and saw some charming specimens from throughout the 20th century). You may not know that table salt did not exist until the 20th century, after they discovered a way to chemically treat salt so it would not clump together. Before that, it was in a block hung by the fire in the kitchen and scraped off into a bowl. Put that in your salt shaker and shake it!
And if you are jealous, there is possibly a chapter of the American Novelty Salt and Pepper Set Collectors Club near you. Apparently the American collectors is a much larger group, having an annual convention drawing hundreds of people who tote suitcases full of these little babies through airport security and buy, sell and trade them throughout the hotel where they attend workshops, special dinners and auctions all related to their particular salt and pepper passion.
Sadly, I did have to leave in the middle of the man's presentation due to another appointment. I wonder how it ended. He had shortened for the occasion, because usually there is not a luncheon associated with his presentation.
So, tell me honestly, was your day as exciting as mine?