I've always enjoyed hosting parties. A couple of years ago, my friend and I started hosting little ones in her barn - I know, I know: we were basically a cheaper version of Kinfolk - and those evenings spent around her table showed me that people are looking for places to connect with one another. In my opinion, there aren't enough places like that in the world. So as best as we could, we helped make one.
Those little parties grew into something special called Around the Table. We hosted popup dinners around town, while working with one phenomenal chef and a handful of stylists, photographers, and shop-owners. The events were small, collaborative, and just crazy magical. They deepened my faith in community and gave me a renewed perspective on Des Moines. In many ways, those dinners made the city feel like my city.
All the logistics of organizing those dinners will remain some of the fondest memories of my life. I'm really proud of myself and of our little team! I'll never forget lugging six foot tables down Grand Avenue or riding the elevator of the Des Moines Building five billion times with plates in hand. But what I'll remember the most are guests going from strangers to friends in a single evening. When that happened, I knew we were doing something right.
All that being said, it's been hard to keep the ball rolling. If I've learned anything from these events, it's that you must keep the ball rolling. An email, a phone call, crossing something off the list - it all matters. Our team is passionate about hospitality, but it's also too small to keep that ball rolling consistently. Plus, our lives are becoming busier due to our talents. That's a great problem to have but it only leaves us with so much free time.
That's why we've decided to put the dinners on hold indefinitely.
It's hard because it's not like things are going badly - they're going great! Each event has been better than the last one and little our mailing list has grown every month. And that's what makes it difficult: the fact that we're slowing down in the midst of a time when I feel we should be speeding up. There's also the whole reality that these events gave me a sense of place within the community. Without these events to hold my attention, I feel kind of antsy.
I'm not being dramatic when I say that Around the Table has ultimately changed the way I live. More than ever before, I believe in community, in people, and in the power of a good meal. I don't think this is goodbye, but it's definitely see you later.
It's hard to lay a dream down, even if it's just for a season.