“No good deed goes unpunished.”

The favorite phrase of my longtime friend, Dick Goddard, repeated over and over in my mind. As the A/C struggled on what was another extremely hot and humid late summer day, I stood looking in the mirror at my slightly swollen and bruised face.

Just a few days before, I had visited the oral surgeon for the next step in my ongoing dental implant procedure. If you’ve been following along, you may recall that back in April I had what felt like an entire cow femur grafted into my upper jawbone, since he said I didn’t even have one. Some have questioned whether I have a backbone, but that’s another column for another time.

This time, though my eyes were closed tightly through most of the procedure, I’m pretty sure he fired up a Black and Decker drill and proceeded to bore a hole into my new bone.

When the nerve-jangling, high-pitched whirring stopped, he replaced the drill bit and then went right back at it in an even higher pitch only to stop again, screw something into my bone and stitch it closed. Fun times.

I recalled it all vividly as I swallowed two Tylenol and wondered why I’d said yes to this event so many months ago.

A fashion show. I was to be a model in a fashion show. Me, of all people.

The last time I’d done this I was modeling Carhartt’s in a hardware store in Hartville, which is way more my speed and I mean way more my speed. Ironically enough, the runway wasn’t far from the power drills as I recall.

But this time it was different. It was … fancy.

Cleveland.

East side.

Landerhaven.

Cloth napkins.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time I committed to it. It was a fundraiser, but I couldn’t remember exactly for whom or what organization.

I racked my brain as I made my way across I-480 and then to I-271, both highways virtual parking lots in spots because of road construction.

‘Why did I say yes? Why, why did I say yes?’ I whined to myself, wincing a little from the pain that shot through my head as I clenched my jaw.

I’ve long struggled with self-esteem issues and I feared this was going to put me over the top as I finally pulled into the parking lot and passed row after row of upscale SUVs and four-door sedans.

Once inside, the atmosphere was nearly electric with beautiful women, tuxedoed servers and vendors selling their wares. I was led through the giant ballroom full of tables beautifully set with more forks at one place setting than I have in my whole silverware drawer.

Behind the scenes, I was introduced to my fellow models who were a very warm and welcoming group. Hair stylists and makeup artists who had volunteered their time and talents to doll us up were doing their magic, and when my turn was over, I hardly recognized myself.

We all then joined, for lunch, the women who had purchased tickets for the event and what a fine group I sat with. Kind, warm, loving and funny. Every single one of them and not a single one mentioned my slightly misshapen face or the fact that I was talking with a slight lisp.

The event was a fundraiser for a group called the Christ Child Society, which is entirely self-supported and has been serving children since 1887. The proceeds were to benefit the Cleveland chapter but at lunch I found out there were also chapters in Akron and other Northeast Ohio communities, as well.

“We make sure when women have babies, they leave the hospital with a full layette so they have something to take home with their baby. Otherwise, these women are so poor they would go home with a baby and nothing for them.”

“We also give clothing and other personal items to kids who are in shelters because they’ve been abused, neglected or are homeless,” another woman piped up.

I choked a little on my salad. Maybe it was a cucumber, but more than likely it was my own selfishness. I had had three babies and never wanted for a thing. Even through two miscarriages, one first trimester the other the second trimester, I had friends who brought me meals, friends who sat with me through the grieving process. My children never wanted for anything at all and always had our love and protection, a warm bed and a safe roof over their heads.

Even in my growing years back in Missouri, we never climbed to the middle-class rung on the social ladder, but my parents made sure I had every thing I needed.

Ashamed of myself, I left the table to change into my outfit and strut my stuff on the runway.

The entire day had not been my finest hour, that’s for sure. But when I walked that runway, I thought long and hard about the children who would benefit from the day and the ladies who gave of their time and their money to have a good time for a very good cause.

As I walked out, I heard a woman say “Can you imagine? They get excited about new underwear. Do you have any idea how spoiled our kids and our grandkids are?”

Yes. Yes, I do. Because I am their spoiled mother and grandmother who started the day begrudging the fact that I didn’t feel well at the moment but had to leave the comfort of my beautiful home to keep my word about something I wasn’t even sure that I was doing.

Shame on me. And with all respect to my friend Dick Goddard, I think a good deed gone undone will bring about more punishment.

The Gospel of Luke carries the message, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.” I have been given so much and I am reminded and ready to give much away. I am guessing that if you are reading this, you have been given much, too. Will you join me?

More information about the Christ Child Society may be found by an internet search for the closest one in your area.

 

Contact Robin Swoboda at Robinswoboda@outlook.com.