Friday, February 3, 2012

Three-Legged Stool

This project has many layers, as you may know. There’s the card count goal (currently 2,000), the country count goal (50) and the specific people we have set our sights on. Let’s take a look at each leg.

Card Count

To me, this goal really brings it in the humor department. I just love picturing Dad going to the post office on that first day that he gets a card from a stranger. And the days when he gets a package slip because the P.O. Box is too small.  And the moments in which he figures out what is happening and the sheer size of the thing.

People talk about out-foxing the fox. In our family, we talk about out-Bubbling the Bubble. And folks, we’re going to out-Bubble the Bubble.  No doubt about it.

The second piece that the card count brings to the party (for me), is human connectedness. Forgive the cheese, but I think it’s important to say. Early on I shared with a few folks that I was inspired by the scene at the end of Miracle on 34th Street in which sacks and sacks of letters to Santa are presented as evidence that Santa is real. In my mind, I see the forthcoming pile of cards on the kitchen table as evidence that people are willing to take the time to spread joy to others.

Country Count

This is the leg of the stool that prompted this post. I wonder if I have overemphasized this one, and I want to be clear about the role of the country count in my eyes. To me it’s the spice and the little something extra. When Mom and I had our very first conversation about this project a week and a half ago (was it really only a week and a half ago?!!!), the idea of country count came out to give people something to play with. It honors the game player in Dad and involves planning and strategy. (Our family has always played board games and card games and shared strategies for winning at hearts or cribbage and even hangman.) In asking people to play for specific countries, it gives a second dimension to the game.

If I were to do this again I would be clearer about why I’m talking about countries so early on. It’s simply a function of lead-time.

Specific People

This one is important because it shows Dad his direct connections with people. Each leg of the stool represents love (to me that’s the whole project), but this one is love of a different flavor. It’s love in a way that honors his contributions to others.

My mom has been heading up this portion of the project and she has been a rock star. College alumni office? No problem. Former colleagues from several schools? No problem. Boarding school connections? She’s on that and so many others.  And she’s been in touch with great people who have jumped right in as well.

So those are the three legs of the stool as I see it.  All important. All beautiful. And all jaw-droppingly inspiring to me. 

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