What a week!September 22, 2009 by Rita Messina
Last night I hit the wall. Not only did I hit the wall but envision that cartoon character that hits the wall and slides down to the bottom, to be a puddle on the floor. That was me, that puddle. The last ten days worth of activities (besides working full-time) were three days of zydeco dance camp which included 7 hours total of dances, and about 6 hours of lessons, driving several hundred miles to get there and then driving home. Then my favorite zydeco band was in town this last Weds night and I danced 3 hours, then had to stay and take care of band business. But wait! Same band played in Port Townsend on Friday night, so of course had to take the ferry over there which is about a 2 hour expedition depending on the time of day. And the rubboard player had left his rubboard in Idaho, so Rita to the rescue with her rubboard. But it is one of the most beautiful drives in the world over the Hood Canal Bridge, seeing the water sparkling, the mountains in all of their majestic glory. The scenery was breathtaking. And when your best friend is LB, the time passes quickly because we can talk faster than we’re driving. And the dance was again, sublime. Not many men for the lead role, but I have learned how to lead so I can dance every dance I choose to dance.
Saturday I woke up to dreary gray clouds and drizzle. Hey, this is Washington, we live for days like this. But that was no deterrent in heading down to the beach to celebrate my darling Peggy’s victory over breast cancer. Eighteen months of treatment and terror to come out the other side victorious and with her sense of humor intact along with a beautiful new head of curls. I arrived with my offering of 2 dozen devilled eggs and enjoyed fellowship with about 50 other of her friends, wonderful food (Ralph burned my hot dog just perfect!) combined with laughter and tears in reminiscing over their journey and in a great setting overlooking the Puget Sound and the Olympics. I know the Olympics were out there somewhere beyond clouds, home to hot sexy vampires and darling werewolves, and the on again, off again drizzle.
Saturday night I then proceeded to head over to a darling town just northeast of my home, Snohomish, to a sweet little blues bar, the Oxford, to do a few spins around the dance floor with one of my dance buddies. Imagine my surprise when I found out the drummer was a young man I used to babysit and I have known the bass play about 40 years. The music was good and it was great to share this evening with friends, old and new.
Up early Sunday morning to celebrate Ken, another dear friend in my dance community. Ken has helped me in more ways than I can count. Allowing me to step on his toes and squeeze his bandaged fingers too tightly when I was first learning to dance; to standing on an extension ladder for hours painting my elevated ceiling. It was his birthday and his significant other, Selah, decided to throw him a surprise BBQ. The least I could do to show him how much I adore him was to make BBQ ribs, 3 dozen devilled eggs and macaroni shrimp salad. Not an easy feat to keep this a surprise but we did surprise him, and again, another perfect time with my dance community, great food, and lots of laughter.
Oh yes, I’ll admit that by mid-afternoon that was me in the chair with a throw cover pretending to watch the Seahawks game. I can watch football with my eyes closed, really, I can. I actually find I prefer watching football with my eyes closed.
Soon enough, it was time to leave and head over to Mercer Island where another of our friends was celebrating his 60th birthday at a very large and beautiful community center. We helped set up, kept the food organized (another donated 3 doz devilled eggs and macaroni salad – hey, you cannot make a small amount of macaroni salad), and a lovely bottle of Merlot, washed dishes and managed to slip in a couple of zydeco dances. Over a hundered of us were there not only to wish Larry a Happy Birthday but a safe journey as he leaves this week for a 5 week trek through Nepal. May God go with you Larry and keep you safe. You are precious to your family and to our community.
My point of all this is that I cannot and do not take for granted the life I have. I am overcome with the passion and happiness of zydeco music, with the vitality of the people in my dance community that I love and adore, and I feel such an awe that we come together to help each other, to celebrate, to hold, to care, to nurture, to grieve, to laugh, to dance. And I can feel grateful even though I turned into Miss Tired Cranky Pants about 9:00 last night. That’s when I do my friends a favor and go home.