With a days full rest behind me, I have now decided to write about my experience as a first time host and the wonderful time I had. So, as a first time host, it started about a few months ago. STRESS! The stress started to kick in when I began to realize that the gather was coming so fast. Did I have everything ready? What is it that needs to be done? Am I worrying to much about nothing? Well, I might have been worrying much about nothing, but my body wasn't exactly giving me that impression. You see, the closer the gather got, my heart started to act a bit funny. It was beating weird. So much so, that one day at work, I had to get down on 1 knee because I thought I was going to pass out. Christmas coming and Sarah's birthday didn't help either. They were both in December. But no one worry, I am feeling so much better now.
I originally was going to plant all the boxes for the gather, the second week in December, which would give me more than enough time to write clues. I have to tell you, I am glad I waited to plant. It would turn out that New Hampshire would see its best winter in years, all in December! So I planted late and even doing so, the boxes were planted under 1.5 feet of snow. But even doing so, I don't think anyone went out to look for them at the gathering. Kinda bothersome.
2 days before the gather, I had the clues books made up. Problem was, I was waiting for an email from the Hooksett Library about planting a box there inside. I had to leave to head to the printers before work, and hadn't heard anything yet. Oh well right!? While at work, I checked my emails with my cell, to find that the director was thrilled to host a letterbox. Not that it was a bad thing, but the clue book was at the printer. Now the book would have to be changed. Thinking about what to do now, I figured the best way to solve the problem would be to print out 1 sheet of paper with the new updated clues on it. This way everyone can copy them if they pleased. After doing some math, it would have cost me $4.20 for more copies of updated clues. I had already spent $18.60. No thanks!
The night before came and I had gotten home from work and started to make sure everything was were I could get it the next morning. Problem was, I didn't wanna sleep and I had no microphone for Letterboxing Idol. I had emailed out and some others had emailed out to see if someone could bring a mic to use, but I never heard back from anyone. No mic, no Letterboxing Idol. Was this a sign?
So with 4 hours of sleep, the morning of the gather came. I had everything in the car and headed off to pick up some last minute items for the gather. Oh, did I always feel like I forgot something. One thing I thought I forgot was the event stamp. Now can anyone tell me how horrible that would be? I knew I had it in the car, so I fought with myself to not turn around. While at the store I did look in the car to find I did have it with me. I stopped to pick up Kreepy Kelli, who was in the area, gratefully able to come due to Team Duggan who unfortunately couldn't make it. We arrive at the location of the gather, to find the person in charge of the VFW wasn't there yet. It was 9:30! We needed in! He showed up shortly there after and we started setting up. A half hour later, the fun began.
One by one, letterboxers came. New faces and old, happy to be out after a month of being couped up in the house, snow bound. Everyone happy to be here. But, I still didn't have a mic! And wouldn't you know! The guy who runs the VFW had a mic! Letterboxing Idol was on! But who was going to walk up to the mic and give it a shot? A few hours went by and not one person walked up to the mic. There had to have been about 50 or so people now at the gather, all talking to old and new, exchanging with each other, stamping into boxes around the room. Everyone was happy with what they were doing. I didn't really have to do much at all. It would seem that I didn't have to plant any boxes in the snow at all! BUMMER! We had Alice of wildcats dancing with garland and kids planting cooties on everyone, Coon Stew being eaten and stories being shared. OK, so there wasn't Coon Stew, but there was a box for it!
About half way through the gather, I decided to take the mic around the floor with me and get people to sing. It was a bit harder than I thought. The children were more willing to sing in the mic than the adults, but it didn't take long for the adults to join in. Christmas and old songs, Kids songs and songs I never heard before, all sung to any ones capability. This wasn't a judging this, this was meant to have fun with. I couldn't let this stamp go untouched!
"There's nothing better than when Pete of The Merry Pranksters sings I'm a Little Teapot!"
So I know there is so much I might be missing. The New Hampshire New Year sign in tree. I didn't hear one bad thing about it! I was happy everyone loved that idea. But if I had known there was already a tree in the room before I took mine down, I would have left mine up! Oh well! But, it is now Monday. 2 days after my first gather. What did I learn? Letterboxers from every part of the country are awesome. I have never felt more welcome than I did this weekend. The support system that was in place. Tell me you guys were kidding! Tell me that it was a sub par gather! What am I kidding! Don't do that! Thank you all for coming out and I am glad you all had a wonderful time. I am sorry that not everyone won something for the raffle. I really felt bad afterwards. I think everyone should have gotten something. I will have plenty of time to think about it for the next time I host a gather. Thank you all who helped make this gather be such a success. Your donations and potluck items were very appreciated. Thank you all thank you all thank you all! Now it's time for me to get more rest! I am still pooped!