Birthdays are that annual event that you either love or hate. I fall in the love category as the thought of the alternative has me passing out party hats and horn blowers as I dance around throwing confetti in the air. This past weekend I had the opportunity to experience my first birthday as a KY Taste Bud and it was truly special. Let me tell you why!
Instead of sitting around and planning all the ways to celebrate me (which of course is not a bad thing, don't get me wrong), I wanted to incorporate our KY Taste Buds philosophy of getting out of our ruts and trying something new. So what would we do? Plan a themed party, rent a villa and invite all my closest friends, attend a concert? Nah. How about spend the weekend volunteering? What? I know, I know. Totally cray cray according to what society says we should do these days. After all, it's all about us, isn't it? But that's just it, our birthday isn't or shouldn't be all about us. Believing that we are created and put here on this planet to serve others and share God's love, our birthdays are the perfect time to do something good for someone else.
On Friday, Leigh and I were fortunate enough to help out at the charity golf tournament, ForeForForty, to benefit the Child Care Council of the Bluegrass. What a fantastic event! The weather was perfect, the golf course spectacular, and we got to meet lots of really nice people who spend a lot of time trying to improve the lives of families and children. Now, it wasn't all sacrifice as we were treated to our favorite BBQ from Lyles BBQ for lunch and we got to spend time with UK greats Jack "Goose" Givens, Rex Chapman, Kyle Macy, Jay Shidler, Cameron Mills, and Bill Ransdell. We played a very small part, but nonetheless we were there and it felt great knowing we were contributing.
Saturday provided another chance for service for the very popular Christ the King Oktoberfest here in Lexington. This is a community-wide event that brings out scores of people to celebrate music, food, and fun. It is a huge fundraiser for the church which uses those monies to support its many humanitarian programs both here locally and abroad. The highlight was I got to meet the members of the band "Starship" (take me back to the '80s)! I have no pics, so you'll have to take my word for it, but all the way around it was wonderful evening. What did it cost me? Only a few hours of my time!
Getting into the homestretch, on Sunday, after having lunch with my wonderful family filled with more BBQ and birthday cake, it was time for the 19th annual Burgers and Bikes event held in conjunction with Harley Davidson of Lexington to support Special Olympics. Now this one is near and dear to my heart as it was started by the father of two of our Henry Clay classmates, Heather and Heidi. Randy Scott was an insurance agent here in town who lived his life in service to others. He saw a way to contribute and worked tirelessly to make this annual gathering profitable for the charities he supported. Tragically, he was killed by an impaired driver a few years ago, but his work goes on through his three daughters, wife and other family members. Leigh and I helped with the silent auction and it was so inspirational to see that many people come together for this worthy cause. The plus was Leigh won a basket of goodies from Locals Craft Food and Drink (one of our favs). I took away a strange desire to hit the open road on the back of a hog and feel the wind in my face. Maybe next year's birthday wish?!
Don't let all this volunteer work have you wanting to put a halo on my head just yet. I did want to celebrate me, and luckily I was able to do so in grand fashion when Leigh took me to CRU , one of the newest restaurants to open at The Summit. Their website says, "CRÚ is about you, and your inalienable right to the unbridled enjoyment of wine and food." They serve Napa style food and will help you pair it with the perfect wine. This place is very sophisticated, but you don't have to worry about snobby waiters or looking like an idiot when it comes to your pinots and merlots. We had a fantastic server by the name of Zach who although only being on the "floor" for five days, expressed a complete understanding of the menu and drink offerings and in many instances made the ideal selections when we let him decide. This tells me a couple of things. One, CRU must hire quality talent, and two, provides them with top-notch training. Exceptional!
Of course, Leigh went above and beyond with her presents, even having games for us to play while we worked our way through our flights of sparkling wine and delectable dishes. She really is a fantastic friend! If you go, you HAVE to get the scallops! They were buttery deliciousness that made my palate dance with joy. Another tip would be go during the week as to avoid the crazy crowds there on the weekends. We will definitely be back in the future as they have some really fun events. Be sure to check out their website.
As I finally laid my head down on my pillow Monday night, I reflected on my exhausting but totally terrific birthday weekend. Taking some time, whether it's an hour or two or a whole weekend, I know that volunteering is the best cure for the "blues" we all feel from time to time. Connecting with others in a positive way and getting outside of ourselves is what will improve the quality of your life and the world a better place for us all. So remember when it's time for your birthday, be sure to celebrate how awesome you are, but keep in mind it's not ALL about you. Get out there and volunteer! You will be glad you did!