Sunday, August 14, 2005

Pickin' Crabs and Talkin' Books...

Today was one of our sporadic meetings of what was once just a dinner group, but has since become a dinner/book group. We're a wonderful group of women who get together every eight weeks or so to enjoy each other's company, share a meal, talk, and now, discuss a book we've read. In our midst we have a potpourri of what makes Washington such an interesting town.

There's the lawyer who does contracts for a major trade association, a lawyer who got out of law and become a human resources consultant, a manager of statistical data, a retired school teacher and principal, a scientist, a public relations maven, a procurement manager for a defense contractor, a project manager, a meeting planner, and a non-profit fundraiser (that's me.) The worst characteristic of our otherwise fabulous group is that we're mostly white with one second- or third generation Japanese American woman. Despite our predominantly vanilla complexion, though, we're diverse in other ways.

All of us have at least a B.A/B.S, others have added an M.A./M.S., a couple have J.D.s, and one of us has a Ph.D.--all from universities ranging from Virginia Commonwealth to Brigham Young University to the Graduate Theological Union to Harvard.

Some of us are single while others of us are married with a few children or married with no children. Most of us are Democrats and a couple of us are Republicans. One or two of us are non-active churchgoers and at least two of us are evangelicals. (I suppose the other thing where we're flawed is we don't have good representation from other non-Christian type denominations.) A couple of us live in the District, one or two are in Maryland, and the rest are in the Northern Virginia.

This weekend, we got together to kayak on the waters around Annapolis, to pick crabs at Mike's in Davidsonville, and to discuss the book My Sister's Keeper at the home of one of the women in our group who lives in a two bedroom bungalow with a pier and a sailboat on the South River.

While I'm not a fan of crab picking (I find it neanderthal and a lot of work for very little yield, hence I always order the crab cakes) and while the book was only marginal, I am a fan of this group of women and there's nothing marginal about any of us. Our conversations are always lively, often intense, and never without a nice balance of laughs and vulnerability. More than anything, though, it is a group where everyone is welcome at the table. (Well, almost everyone. We once had a woman in the group who was such an energy drain on the rest of us that we temporarily disbanded the group, then restarted it without her. It's a much calmer, easier going group without her.)

My point here is, if we passed each other as strangers on the street, we probably would each keep on walking. But we've chosen an intimate venue--a dining room table--to gather around and commune. We've found what we have in common and what we have that's different. We are accepting--and where we're not, we're respectful. This is a group of women I am increasing learning to cherish as a gathering of smart, articulate, vulnerable, grounded, funny women and I think that's the best kind of woman to be! So, here's to Amy, Brenda, Joy, Tish, Carolyn, Natalia, Susan, Liz, Victoria, Maureen--and Maureen's black lab--Blitz. Cheers, ladies! And here's to many more fabulous gatherings of the Great Women's Dinner Group!

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