by Nicole Crews
The minute you walked in the joint…” — you could tell it was an event of distinction.
The aforementioned joint was downtown Greensboro’s Empire Room at the Elm Street Center and the event was the bottle-popping annual fete that has raised some $800,000 for children living with serious, progressive medical issues and kids experiencing the death of loved ones. Kids Path is part of Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro — you know, those angels from heaven who guide us all gently into that good night.
Throw in the kid factor and it’s a tear-jerker for sure, but come each March, 600-plus saintly volunteers and members of the Triad community come out in full regalia to toast the night away, bid on an extravagant and generously donated buffet of silent-auction items, dine and wine. The presenting sponsor of the event is Green Valley Financial and the lead event sponsor is Zeto Wine and Cheese Shop, the brainchild — and brain food — of Su Peterson and Penny Demetriades who have coordinated the wine and cheese for the past nine years and donate 100 percent of the profits to Kids Path.
“They have been there with us from the get-go,” says Paul Russ, vice president of marketing and development at Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, “and this year our mother-daughter chairs Luck Davidson and Charlotte Davidson Quinn really upped the game by recruiting community leaders with an extensive knowledge of wine to serve as “wine mavens” at each tasting station.”
Indeed, it was a ballroom packed with interesting whites, unusual reds and much fancy cheese.
Me: Have you tried the Mahón? It reminds me of that creepy guy over there who keeps following me around.
Me: Crumbly and dense.
David: And pale yellow.
Me: More like the Lou Bergier Pichin-Piedmonte — semi-soft and aged 60 days atop pine boards.
David: Stick with the Melkbus — it’s firm.
Me: Whatever you do steer clear of the Toggenburger Chueli. It’s matured six months in a cellar environment. I’m picturing a Swiss dairy miss lowering lotion in bucket. It says it has smooth, pea-sized eyes.
David: Cheese eyes.
Amidst chatter about cheese there was also much talk of gratitude for Hospice and all that they do. Last year Kids Path cared for 64 sick children, conducted more than 2,000 grief-counseling sessions and held group sessions, camps and workshops with 300-plus children participating. The puppet show dealing with grief and loss, “Aarvy Aardvark Finds Hope,” celebrated its 25th year was presented to close to 3,000 Guilford County third graders in 42 schools.
Me: It says here that Aarvy is sad and his animal friends — a monkey, a giraffe, a vulture and a rabbit — gather around to help. I wonder what the vulture does.
David: Cleans up?
Me: Sort of a children’s book Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction. Well I guess it takes all creatures — great and small.
It certainly takes a community, and as someone who has recently experienced the grace under dire pressure that hospice organizations provide, I raise my glass to Corks for Kids Path. Here’s to hitting that million-dollar marker by next year.