Sunday, November 25, 2007
If Music Be The Food Of Love....
Well, it's all over except for the vat o' turkey soup in the refrigerator and a cooler with some oysters in it.
Okay, that and the new roll of fat that makes buttoning our jeans even more of a challenge. I swear, next year we're having pinto beans and rice for Thanksgiving dinner and maybe, if I'm feeling really productive, I'll make some cornbread and if you want dessert you can pour some syrup over a chunk of that.
I say this because despite the fact that on Thursday we had a feast that couldn't be beat, the real Thanksgiving, the good part, the sweetest part, the most magical and joyous part happened the night before and had nothing to do with turkey or sweet potatoes or even pecan pie.
There was food, but it was just a big bowl of pasta with jarred sauce and some salad. And a cooler full of oysters. There were beverages too.
But what made it so special and what made it so magic was the people and the music.
A sort of spontaneous party arose Wednesday night that made me about as happy as I've ever been in my life. The sort of party that almost never, in my experience, actually happens. The sort of party that warmed this old house and this old heart in ways I can't explain. There was family and sort-of-family and friends so old that they might as well be family and new people that are now family and we all had the very best time. I think everyone did, anyway. It sure seemed like it.
There was music- fiddle, guitar, mandolin and singing. There was dancing. There was hugging and oyster-eating and beer drinking and rum drinking and soda drinking and there was a lot of laughter and there was a lot of light and the dogs went from lap to lap, getting the overflow of the love.
It reminded me of the old days when we were younger and music was made for the joy of it and the babies were little and our hearts were lighter and our feet were too. The babies have grown up and it brings me more joy than I can say to have them sing and play and dance to the old songs with us old folks. Really, more than I can say.
It was the kind of night that I wished could never end, but of course it had to. The musicians played Good Night Irene and we all sang and then begged for ONE more and we got it, but then it was really time for the instruments to be put away. Folks started thinking about the turkeys they had to get in the oven the next morning and the pies they had to make and so it all ended. There were more good hugs and promises for same-time-next-year and drive carefully's and my husband washed the dishes and we all made a desultory attempt to bag up the bottles and cans and paper plates and then it was time for bed.
I laid there awake for a few minutes, buzzing with it all. I thought about how good it had been to see folks that I've known and loved since high school, about how proud I am that my ex-husband and his wife and my husband and I are all good friends and how our kids have benefited from that. I thought about how precious it was to see my daughter playing music with folks I've been lucky enough to listen to for over thirty years. I thought about how wonderful it had been to meet a few new people whom I felt like I'd known forever. I thought about how I'd been wanting to have a party like this since I laid eyes on this house. And I thought about how damn lucky I am. How rare it is to have an evening where so many parts of the whole cloth of a life come together to make one vibrant, glowing quilt of joy.
It was as if the whole map of my life had been laid out right there on my back porch and I could trace the history of it through this person, through that bloodline, all the while listening to the songs that have made me happy for a lifetime. The songs that may have, at one time or another, saved my life, played by the people who may have done the same.
And then I slept in my house where all my children were, and when I woke up I felt the same way.
I still do.
You just can't get better than that. The feast we had the next day was terrific and the people there were other parts of the quilt, the map, the whole of my life, but it was different. It was more work and less music, more clean-up and less joy. It was more about the food and less about the love.
But I got both parts and that makes me just about the luckiest woman on earth. Friends and family that blur into one, along with a feast.
And now I have the memories and the turkey soup and it's really good turkey soup. And the oysters, which I will make into some oyster stew tonight for my husband. He loves oyster stew because his mama used to make it for him. He swears she didn't put a thing in that stew but oysters, cream, butter, salt and pepper. I am almost congenitally unable to make a dish so simple, but I'll try to recreate his mother's oyster stew as best as I can because I know what it's like to taste something that brings back the memories of happy times. His mama and daddy are gone now but I can hopefully bring them back in his heart just a little with the taste of salty oysters, sweet butter and black pepper.
Because food is love. And music is love. And on Wednesday night, everywhere I looked was love. I drank it in, it filled my heart and it spills out now.
I swear, I could have done like my dogs and gone from lap to lap. Well, maybe not. Only dogs can get away with that sort of thing. We poor humans have to get ours in other, a bit more subtle ways.
But we clumsy humans do get it sometimes. Sometimes, we do.
Wednesday night I sure did.
And it has left me filled with Thanks-giving in a way that pecan pie never will.