Mood: not sure
Topic: "All Good Things" (4)
More than ten years ago, Frodo received a telephone call in his office from an entrepreneur with an interesting idea. The gentleman explained that he had developed a concept for working Hobbits who found themselves increasingly isolated from each other. "After all," he said, "as we age, we spend more and more of our time at work, and what's left mostly goes to our familial responsibilities." "Any time beyond that," he offered, " which we call leisure, is usually somewhat solitary. What we lose is the locker room. We no longer interact as team-mates, because we outgrow our abilities and they morph into our responsibilities."
What he would do is to gather a group of 15 or so businessmen, generally entrepreneurs, business owners, professionals, with achievements and education, and set-up an introductory luncheon. Prior to the luncheon, every participant would receive a briefing book on the other members of the group. At the luncheon, each member would stand and introduce himself for 10 or so minutes, then make himself available for questions.
After the meeting, he would arrange for a second meeting, and that would be the last that anyone would see of him. At the second meeting, the group would begin to establish its own dynamics, and develop its own plan for future meetings. As a general rule, meetings seemed to usually be scheduled once-a-month and in the beginnning would be discussions over lunch. From there, the group was entirely on its own.
Frodo has discussed many meetings of what he dubbed "The Men of Gondor." On two occasions Frodo has white-water-rafted the Chatuge River (remember "Deliverance"?, well that's it), he has visited tourist locations often overlooked by residents (the Cyclorama, the Carter Center, the Wren's Nest), and he has been introduced to the vocational expertise of other members (waste-water treatment, architectural design, theatre production). Frodo tried foods he'd never considered (chicken feet, sushi), but mostly he listened. He listened attentively as one spoke of an actual visit to the Olduvai Gorge, and another about the last hours on Earth of a life's love. Together they all discussed the changes in their world after the collapse of the Twin Towers. All of this coming from participants who shared no commonality, other than the fact that fellowship was something they had lost, somehow, somewhere along the way.
Today, Frodo announced that he would no longer attend the lunchtime gatherings on the second Friday of every month. He indicated that his enthusiasm had simply waned. That was partially true, for it grows increasingly difficult to maintain spontaneity when schedules and the unforeseen continually intrude. Like most things in life however, there is an end, and recognizing it is what we all must do, or suffer in silence. Frodo has genuine affection for "The Men of Gondor," and he will never be able to replay the experiences in total context. He will try, from time-to-time, to tell you, dear reader, what it is like in the locker room, and why you miss it so much.