Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barn Dance

October 12, 2008. I went to an old fashioned barn dance last night. One of my horsy buddies, Caroline, had forwarded an email invitation to me; the event was touted as a “Celebration and thank you for tornado recovery and rebuilding”. Caroline too had lost several out buildings to the early summer tornado that ripped through Wellington, Colorado. I did not know the folks throwing the party, but since I had driven up to help Caroline clean up the rubble at her farm, I felt like I had contributed to the cause. There was to be live music with a Traditional Dance Caller to lead us through the steps, as well as hayrides and egg toss games, plus a pot luck supper. It sounded like so much fun.

And it was, even though the weather was a freezing drizzle all day long and the temperature was hovering around 37* when Damaris and I arrived. We had dressed warmly as the invite said there would be no heat. The two story large white barn had a green metal roof and as we walked in we breathed deeply of the luscious aroma of freshly sawn wood beams. Damaris looked around at all the hand crafted features and said, “I could live in this barn” and even though I knew what she meant I jokingly replied as I zipped up my coat, “only if you were a popsicle”. We walked in not knowing a soul but we joined the huddle around a crock pot full of hot cheese dip, introduced ourselves, and took turns warming our hands on the outside of the hot pot. Five minutes after we arrived there appeared a long line of people heading outdoors and I walked to the window to observe the egg toss. I watched as “kids” of all sizes and ages stood outside in the mist and tossed raw eggs back and forth, taking one step backward after each successful toss. Of course, the last team with an unbroken egg wins the contest. Today they were moving pretty briskly in the cold drizzle, but they all came in smiling and laughing.

The serving tables were loaded with food for the pot luck, and of course it all looked delicious. Anything served Hot was an instant hit. Damaris and I commented that we could have made the big bucks if we had a large thermos of hot cider!!! I had made a crock pot of scalloped potatoes and the warmest I was for that first hour was clutching it to my chest as I carried it into the barn.

Quickly finishing a slice of purple plum pie, we gave up our seats at the picnic table so new comers could sit down and enjoy their meal. I mentioned to Damaris that I really had to go to the bathroom. The only available amenity was a port-a-potty outside. I have used many in my day, but tonight I was dressed in a long skirt, panties, silk underwear and a slip. I wasn’t’ sure if I had enough room in there to put myself all back together. We decided to use the time while the band was setting up to drive a half mile to another friend’s house and use her facilities. Oh my God, her house felt so warm. Nikki is in veterinarian school and if she hadn’t been studying for a week’s worth of tests she would have driven back over to the party with us.

There were lights pouring out the wood windows, the fiddler was playing and we could hear the stomping of many feet as we walked back to the barn for the second time, now in the dark. The upstairs of this barn was built to be a dance floor; it was constructed of older dark wood planks that probably had been recycled from another place. I would love to know its history, to hear its story. It was gorgeous, but now it was crowed with moving bodies. They were doing a spiral dance and almost every one was involved. I caught a glimpse of Caroline and Ed as they danced by.

Damaris and I took to the floor for the next dance and didn’t stop until the band called for a break. It was a short break because no one wanted to lose the heat we had finally generated. After an hour of dancing everyone had thrown off their outer sweaters and down vests and we were actually sweating! A cold soda finally sounded appealing. In an earlier day there might have been a gallon of moon shine being passed around but the invitation had specifically stated, “Partly because of the many children expected, this event will be alcohol and tobacco free. So I had a lemonade, hold the ice, and enjoyed every sip.

After the break we danced for another hour and then found our hosts and thanked them so much for putting on such a marvelous event. On the way home we talked about how enthusiastically the little kids participated and the adorable young Downs Syndrome girl in the pink sweater who loved dancing. Damaris said that if more families spent time doing these old fashioned events together, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now. Maybe, I thought, maybe not. The times they are a changing. I just hope that I get invited back next year.

* annette

No comments: