I know it when I see it...
People in Georgetown are talking about the Progressive Dinner. At the Patron's party for the Georgetown House tour last week, a fellow guest insisted I tell an assembled group all about it and how it works. I was handed business cards with requests for an invitation. I felt like a motivational speaker exhorting guests that this event will "change their lives". Last night at the Tudor Place garden party a woman excitedly exclaimed to me "I got my tickets for the Progressive!" as she passed by.
Elizabeth Miller, a Hyde-Addison parent and Georgetown resident organized the event for the first time in 2009, and Georgetown neighbors and businesses as well as Hyde-Addison families and faculty all joined in for one of the most talked about events of that Spring season (despite a late evening deluge). Enough money was raised to finance some lovely landscaping of the school's side garden which faces P Street as well as the tree boxes adjacent to the school on O and P Streets. Now the garden and tree boxes will receive some additional upgrades and maintenance which the Friends of Hyde Garden (founded by Ms. Miller) will be financing with proceeds from this exciting event.
This is a relaxing and fun way to meet neighbors and see some of the varied homes of Georgetown. Space is limited due to a fixed number of participating venues and time is running out, so please go to the Hyde website and reserve your tickets now. You don't want to miss this wonderful neighborhood happening for a great cause.
The neighborhood turned out despite the rain on Sunday for the Spring Soiree on the terrace at the Georgetown library. The event was the combined effort of Friends of the Georgetown Library and Friends of Book Hill Park with additional support from the Citizens Association of Georgetown and the restaurants of Book Hill as they are now collectively known including Patisserie Poupon, Los Cuates, Manny & Olga's and newcomer Book Hill Bistro as well as Clyde's, Georgetown Candy Bar and Sprinkles cupcakes.
Gallery owner and long-time Book Hill supporter Christopher Addison was on site to judge the best drawing of the library at the children's art contest and there was also a chess table, and a crafts table to keep the children entertained.
Brad Gray, co-President of Friends of Georgetown library welcomed guests to this first -time event and introduced Georgetown's incoming Librarian, Lucy Thrasher, formerly of the Palisades location who will take the helm on May 9th.
Members of both organizations and their families were in attendance including Julia Diaz-Asper and her son and four granddaughters, Ev and Joan Shorey, Edie Shafer and her grandsons, Bob Laycock, and John Rentzepis, (Ginny Poole's husband) along with their two daughters.
Friends of Book Hill co-president Ginny Poole supplied some background on how the event came together and included the fact that they canceled the planned tent yesterday as the weather looked so promising, only to wake to a cloudy day, threatening showers. Although the tent company was closed, she was able to contact them by cell phone and the tent was delivered just shortly before the event was due to begin. "They were so great!" exclaimed Ginny, still marveling over the quick response that saved the day. Laura Nelson added that had we been there at 3:00 it would have been difficult to believe the event was going to come off at 4:00.
Despite the raindrops, unofficial counts showed that nearly twice as many people attended the event as had purchased tickets in advance, making for a very happy coalition of "Friends" and volunteers.
A small boy in a yellow and black slicker steps out onto the cobblestones and turns to close the gate behind him. He's wearing third-hand green dinosaur boots with large cracks in the rubber on each side which effectively negate their purpose as rain boots as the water pours down.
Oblivious, he heads for each concave dip in the brick sidewalk and determinedly jumps in the exact center of each puddle as he makes his way down the street. He greets a neighbor and his dog Cowboy as they pass by across the street on their morning perambulation. He pats Andrew's dog Maya on the head when she stops to sniff him and solemnly shakes Mr. Ko's hand as he stands smoking outside the cleaners. "Hello Handsome!" shouts Ms. Osra from her perch behind the desk and "Dallas" sleeps in a chair by the door, safe from the rain for now. "My birthday is in fourteen sleeps" he replies, with a customary non sequiter.
Olivier doesn't notice us as he talks excitedly on his cell phone outside the door of the salon, but we wave nevertheless. Peter and his assistants look dubiously skyward as they try to decide which items will be situated outside his antiques shop today and he nods as we pass, intent on his work. A knock on the window to greet the "Cupcake Lady" as she picks up her breakfast at Wisey's and a high five to a store owner farther down the block while adeptly dodging the hug of another just next door. He stoops to examine something on the sidewalk and excitedly shouts "Lucky Day! " while picking up a dingy coin beside the parking meter. "Why did they make that big hole?" he asks, pointing to an ugly gash of a utility company project (and who can know?) "Buck, buck, buck" the pigeons intone.
The Metro bus speeds by spraying us with dirty water in its wake. A wave to Audrey's Daddy on his way back from dropping her off at St. John's (we must be running late) and Luca's Mom hunched in the rain pushing his baby brother in a stroller under a plastic cover hurriedly down the street. As if visiting an old friend he growls amiably at the hapless alligator on display in a shoe store window. A car slows at O Street and the window rolls down revealing a child on his way to school in another neighborhood nearby. "'Bye Liam!" the voice trails off as the light turns green and the car drives out of sight. We cross the street with Owen's Mom who has already dropped him off at Hyde and the boy sticks his head around the door into his friend Samir's store to shout a greeting although he knows the shop owner's son is not there. We plug our ears with our fingers as an ambulance and a fire truck screech by.
At the corner of Wisconsin he takes a deep whiff of the bacon cooking at Five Guys and receives a double cheek kiss from a friend waiting to extract cash from the ATM before making a wide berth around a wild-looking man shouting at another man who is intently ignoring him while conducting his bank business. "Why is he so mad?" he idly wonders aloud and then stops as if for the very first time to exclaim over the Spiderman keys in the Shoe Repair shop's window. His breath fogs up the glass as he peers in. He notes with interest Poppy's Dad bringing in the trash cans, her tricycle parked outside their door and another friend disappearing down the street. "Aaaan-nnie!" we shout, but she is already too far away with her dog Zoo in tow, so we turn up the stairs and fall in step with Miss Mimi hurrying back from moving her car.
The big church doors clank behind him and he's reached his destination.
It took less than ten minutes, but it has already been a day in and of itself.