WHAT’S FOR BREAKFAST? I’m skeptical of city pep rallies because they tend to be more about the pep than any solutions worth rallying around, the cheerleading more cheering than leading. I’m also skeptical of anyone who’s particularly peppy first thing in the morning.
Ergo, I was skeptical when I dragged myself into my first Breakfast Club meeting.
It may be, as your mother may have told you, the most important meal of the day, but there still better be one mother of a reason to make 500 people show up for it at 7 o’clock in the morning – smiling, I might add.
Maybe a tribute to one of our giants, Lewie Donelson, and his remarkable and courageous career of more than 70 years as a lawyer and civic leader – maybe they came for that.
And they all did rise to get here, and rose as one to applaud him.
Maybe they came to see young people thank the Boys and Girls Clubs for the confidence to do and be anything, or maybe to hear about the clubs’ 100 percent graduation rate, the 100 percent job placement of their technical training center.
I doubt that they came to hear that they should pay attention to the upcoming election and to the work of the Coalition For A Better Memphis to better inform the public to be better-informed voters – but they were there and they listened.
I seriously doubt that they came to hear Kevin Adams of CB Richard Ellis rapping to introduce football great Eddie George – but he did and they laughed.
And Eddie brought them to their feet again.
All of that and more was folded into the omelet served at the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club, spread on the everything bagel that is Memphis, as eye opening as strong coffee, as recognizable and hopeful as the smell of bacon frying and biscuits rising, everybody there as comfortable with each other as grits and butter.
And – since I have this metaphor on a hard roll, if you will – it was a whole room of Memphians who, like sausage, were not about accepting or rejecting any one of the diverse parts, but about the spicy, flavorful wonder of the whole.
Most so-called major events come once a year – you know, get some heavy-duty sponsors, sell tables, get a nationally known speaker, give a bunch of plaques and platitudes to a bunch of people who give a bunch – and they’re usually for the benefit of one organization or cause standing up in front of themselves, talking to themselves.
The Breakfast Club Signature Breakfast Series happens eight times a year – eight – 75 sponsors of all sizes and weights, hundreds of people across ages, color and calling, all together at 7 in the morning each time to hear a completely different program, featuring completely different people and organizations, all about one thing:
Memphis, and what we can do about it together.
What’s for breakfast? Our city, sunny side up.
I’m a Memphian, and things are looking brighter this morning.
Dan Conaway is a lifelong Memphian, longtime adman and aspiring local character in a city known for them. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.