Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 23, 2012-February 27, 2012 By Eileen Maloney

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf
February 23, 2012-February 27, 2012
By Eileen Maloney

I was sad that I could not meet with the person delivering the scarf to me. We missed our time slot, and so it was left on my chair. But soon, I removed the jacket I had worn and draped the scarf across my shoulder (front to back and secured with my stretchy belt). I was wearing what I call my uniform, black slacks white blouse and a jacket. The rest of the day people commented on the scarf. When I explained that it was the “traveling scarf” conversations flowed freely.

Friday – Coffee and the Scottish Pirate!
I found a festive nail polish that I would normally only wear during the holidays – it was glittery and matched my scarf perfectly. I decided to use the holiday polish today (and not wait until next year). Both the polish and the scarf started several interactions. Early Friday, I stopped at my neighborhood coffee shop. I saw a woman whom I see occasionally. While we know each other as familiar faces, and avid walkers, we don’t know each other by name. She had commented on the lovely scarf (this time across my body like a sash and down the back, again secured with a belt.) When I said the scarf made me paint my otherwise bare nails, the woman said you have to live each day to its fullest. I am a firm believer in that too. She continued to tell me that she had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma (a leukemia-type cancer) 2 years ago, and has fought it well. It seems the scarf empowered her to talk freely with me – and I knew about this same cancer as my father had it too. And now, I know her name!

When I got to the office to begin my first duties of the day (make coffee for the staff), I was met by my peers in the suite next door. I had tucked my slacks into my boots, as I felt they were too short for these shoes. My peers wanted to hear stories and I shared them. Then one person said I was wearing the scarf like a Scott. Someone else in the room said they thought I was going for the pirate theme. Before I left the suite, I was dubbed the Scottish Pirate.

Saturday and Sunday
Since the person I pass the scarf to was out of town until Monday, I continued to escort the scarf with me. I am in a running club (who drinks coffee after we get our miles in). I took the scarf in for coffee and the mixed group of men and women all seemed interested in what is it, why would I bring it to running, and where does it go next. I told them that the scarf would go with me to Columbus to attend a Ceili. Ceili {kay lee] is a Gaelic (Irish) word that means party; specifically one with live musicians, dancing, or general merriment.. In this instance, a dance school was hosting the event as a fund raiser. At the table with siblings and cousins, the story continued. I was thrilled to share the story and to see my cousin and niece dance for fun instead of competing.

I passed the scarf on to the next participant, who graciously let me take her photo. I hope it opens conversations with more people and places. Thanks for adapting this program to increase diversity and peace at work and in the world.

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