In organizing the Finally Spring 5k!, I was reminded of a story—the story of Stone Soup. Stone Soup is about a soldier wandering through a war-torn village on his way from the front lines. He is tired and weary. He hasn’t eaten in days and knocks on one family’s door.
“Excuse, I am on my way back from the front lines and am very hungry. Could you spare some food?” he asks.
“Soldier, I am sorry but I have no food to offer. Every day is a struggle to feed my own family,” responds the woman.
So the soldier continues on and asks another household for help.
“No one has anything to offer you or anyone else. We are all starving in this village and can barely feed ourselves,” says a man.
After several more visits and several more rejections, the soldier had an idea. He set himself down in the middle of the town green. He took off his helmet and put it on the ground. He added some water, and placed in a rock the size of his fist. Curious villagers passed by and asked what he was making.
“Why, it’s Stone Soup, of course! Have you never had it? It’s the greatest!” explained the soldier. “When it’s done, I will share it with you. But, if you have a carrot, it will taste much, much better.”
The curious villager took off for her home and grabbed a carrot. “Here’s a carrot! How long does stone soup take to cook?”
“Not long, once we have all the ingredients in place,” responded the soldier.
“What else is needed,” asked a second villager who had seen the curious scene in the middle of the town green.
“Well, an onion would really make it great,” said the soldier.
The second villager ran off to get an onion for the soup. This continued, until finally, the soldier’s helmet was spilling over with a bounty of fresh vegetables. Eventually, a villager offered up her large pot, and other villagers built a fire. In the end, there was enough Stone Soup for everyone in the town to enjoy.
Before the soldier came into town, the villagers stayed in their home—depressed, dejected, worn, and tired. But as the villagers enjoyed the Stone Soup together, they forgot about their worries and recognized the strength they had in their community. And they saw that while a single poor household will struggle, of community of them can thrive.
The Finally Spring 5k! was a Stone Soup moment for me. No one person’s contribution was sufficient in making the event the success that it was. It required the commitment, participation, and generosity of everyone.
I was moved by the support that was shown for Public Allies and for Manchester Running Company. I was personally moved by the support of my family and friends, of community businesses and professionals, and by the kindness of strangers. Without just one of you, the event would have been diminished entirely.
I am grateful to you all and glad that we were able to come together and break bread over some Stone Soup last weekend. I look forward to many more opportunities to do this again.
Tyler G. Driscoll