wmtc7 is awesome, or, 10 reasons i love hosting a summer potluck

Wmtc7 was last night, and I think it might have been the best wmtc party yet. It was certainly the our biggest turnout, with more than 40 people - and 10 dogs!

All week, southern Ontario had been sweltering under brutal heat and humidity. Then on Saturday morning it rained a bit, the skies were dark and threatening all day, and then... the humidity lifted, the skies cleared, and the temperature dropped. It was perfect weather for an outdoor gathering.

There was so much food that we couldn't fit it all on the table. We needed a separate table just for desserts! Some guests' offerings never made it out at all, and will feed Allan and I today and this week.

I made one change this year. For previous parties, I've been very hands-off about what people bring. If a friend said she didn't cook, I would say, "Just bring chips and salsa, or cookies, whatever." But last year I noticed this had led to an over-abundance of chips and salsa and we were a bit light on more substantial fare.

So this year, I made a short list of suggestions for people who prefer not to cook. It worked out great. We had more food, more variety, and people seemed to appreciate the bit of direction. The no-cook list included cheese and crackers, hummus and assorted dips, breads, pizza, samosas, spring rolls, rotisserie chicken, vegetables for dipping, cut-up fruit, and cookies. No one took me up on the chicken, but the pizza was a huge hit.

I also decided not to make this year's party a fundraiser. Although in past years we raised a lot of money for the War Resisters Support Campaign, and last year I asked for donations for Bad Rap for my birthday, I don't want our party to become about fundraising. I invited several new people this year, both from the library and from the IS, and I wanted them to attend without any pressure, and without wondering if I was boosting the guest list for donations.

This morning as I clean up and recover, I'm thinking about why I enjoy this annual tradition so much. And so, ten reasons I love hosting a summer potluck.

10. Having an artificial deadline to clean and do home repairs and improvements.

9. Having a backyard big enough to host a big party without being cramped for space.

8. Not worrying if anyone will show up, if there'll be enough food, or even if the weather will be nice. We've already had one party in the rain, and it was a blast. (It takes more than a little rain to keep Canadians from drinking beer!)

7. Introducing people to each other, potentially beginning new connections and friendships.

6. The element of surprise, the lack of control over what will be served.

5. Leftovers!

4. Dogs!

3. I experience no social anxiety whatsoever. I'm totally relaxed and in the moment.

2. I have a bit of a "pinch me, I'm dreaming" feeling at my good fortune. How did I meet all these wonderful people?

1. Feeling that I am part of a community - a feeling of belongingness - is extremely important to me. (I listed it on our "simple pleasures" list.) The wmtc party is like a mainline fix of belongingness.

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