The event seemed to hit everybody with the same thought: After a knock-down, drag-out presidential campaign in which friends were fussing with one another in normally civilized gatherings and insults seemed to rain like a non-stop summer thunderstorm, sitting down together for Sunday supper seemed like a really good idea.
And it was.
This past Sunday, about 1,000 people sat down at tables that stretched two blocks along Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, from the State Capitol to Martin Street, for the worthy cause of helping the victims of flooding from Hurricane Matthew. A North Carolina dinner of barbecue and the fixings could be had for a $20 ticket, though some attendees paid more. The tickets sold out quickly.
Nancy McFarlane, Raleigh’s mayor, offered, “What a sight to see!” Mayors from towns affected along the Neuse and Tar rivers also attended the event, which found early formation in the offices of Eckel & Vaughan, a communications firm in Raleigh. A multitude of other organizers participated, and the event came off beautifully.
For many, though, one of the most delightful things about it, aside from the weather, was that there was precious little talk of the recently-concluded, contentious, upsetting campaign for the presidency between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The crowd seemed to be in the same state of mind as most — exhausted, a bit worried, fretful for the future, but determined to put the election behind them and carry on.
That’s not much to ask of ourselves, after all, when so many thousands of North Carolinians are still in dire straits because of the hurricane, which left some areas just devastated by flooding. Sunday supper may not be the only solution, but it seems like a very good, very imaginative start.