Normally, spaghetti is one of my favorite food groups. I like it thick. I like it crunchy. I like it with Italian sausage and lots of veggies. I love it when the sauce tastes like it has been cooking for hours and hours. Mostly, however, I like to see it when I'm eating it.
Seeing the spaghetti was not an option at Spaghetti with a Twist, a small fundraiser for the Blind and Independent Living Program at TACID (Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities. Tickets were $25 each and the money was well spent. I received $25 worth of entertainment value alone, plus dinner.
Program Director, Laura Beigh, introduced herself as a "young willowy blond" for all the blind people in the audience. While not an exact description, it was close enough . . . and the laughter of the sighted people explained everything to everyone else.
Laura and her guide dog help people who have lost their ability to see, or who are losing it. She visits homes and illustrates how to maneuver and how to make accommodations for lowered vision. She explains what adjustments can be made for individuals to remain in their homes and on their own. She also will take people on bus rides to open their world up well beyond the front door of their homes.
Before dinner was served everyone was given a blindfold and a bib to wear. When they were all in place, plates of spaghetti, salad, and bread sticks were served. Helpers/volunteers came around with salad dressing for the greens and Parmesan cheese for the pasta. Then it was every person for themselves.
Spaghetti sauce frequently decorates shirt and blouse fronts at the best of times, but the best part of being blindfolded is that you can't see the mess you're making. The bad part of being blindfolded is missing the mess your friends are making. People laughed at themselves and their buddies and all had a fun evening. The spaghetti was good, too. I just can't tell what it looked like, except for the stains on my plastic bib.
At the dinner were friends, members of Rotary, and even celebrities. Attending the dinner party was KLAY-AM talk show host, Terry Belieu. Terry conducted the first interview of our new executive director, Ken Gibson back in September. Terry's Talk is a great example of community-based radio. Terry selects his guests with a focus on good news and leaves sensationalism to the people that give radio talk shows a bad name.
It was good to see Terry and a full room of diners. I think initially Laura was expecting 20-25 people. I think they ended up with about 40, but no one ended up with egg on their face . . . spaghetti on their bibs, yes, but no egg. The event raised over $1400 and was a nice illustration of what it's like to lose vision, and yet still cope.