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The Icky Mouse Club

CAS Arts Center continues to raise funds for its building initiative.

October 4, 2012

I know, I know...they come callin’ every year when the leaves begin to turn and there’s frost on the pumpkin. Mice. With apologies to Santa, autumn is (IMHO) “the most wonderful time of the year” and I spent the last week attending events throughout the Upper Delaware Valley, basking in the explosion of fall foliage that helps define life in the Catskills and the incredible bounty that Mother Nature provides.

Since I’m still unpacking (nesting comes next), I decided to schlep a box in from the barn before heading out to the Chapin Lake Club ( and the fundraising dinner benefiting the Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless ( “Wonder what’s inside?,” I whispered to the dog as she sniffed the cardboard and wagged in anticipation, hoping to unearth some of her still missing toys. “Surprise!” I cried and opened the flaps.

The first surprise was an alarmed mouse running up my arm, onto my shoulder and leaping to the floor. Shrieking (in typical manly fashion), I jumped up just in time to observe what appeared to be a living fountain of mice pouring out of the box, spilling onto the floor and scurrying (as only mice can do) under the fridge, under the couch and yes (oh, the horror!) under the bed, as Dharma raced to and fro, thrilled to have playmates in the house. Heart pounding (hey, there were at least a dozen) and clock ticking, I considered my options. I was determined to meet my commitment and attend the “silent auction and simple meal in a handcrafted bowl” that the fundraiser promised, which had been dubbed “Under the Harvest Moon” and was planned in conjunction with the Empty Bowl Project (

My Internet research had revealed that “Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger and was created by the Imagine Render Group.” The basic premise is simple: potters, craftspeople, educators and others work with the community to create handcrafted bowls. Guests are invited to a simple meal of soup and bread. In exchange for a cash donation, guests are asked to keep a bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. The money raised is donated to an organization working to end hunger and food insecurity.