sunsets and twinkle lights
My good friends, Patty and Mark were throwing a beautiful outdoor party for their Californian daughter, back for a visit on the east coast. It was a day in her honor, a sort of post-wedding reception for all the friends and family who didn't make it out to Mexico for her Destination Wedding the year before. And what a party it was. Catered with a 200+ chicken bbq, a gold-dusted cupcake tower, sunflowers and daisies as far as the eyes could see, and a live bluegrass band under a tent—what a feast and what a show!
I put on a sleeveless sundress, did my hair, makeup, grabbed a white casting shirt and felt like a Kennedy going to a garden party. Big events like this aren't really a part of my normal life anymore. Either due to distance from the farm (or everyone I know being busy with their own farms) grand levees like this are a scandalous rare treat and this one would be full of younger folks my age visiting from Boston, L.A. and New York City. I was excited to dress up, meet people, dance, and be merry in general.
I was bringing a Gin Bucket, and it was welcomed. For those of the uninitiated, a Gin Bucket is a 5-gallon container (usually a bucket or large cooler) holding the following: ice, lemon lime soda, 2 handles of gin, fresh-squeezed lemons and limes (toss in the halves after you squeeze them), and seltzer or tonic. It is pretty much a mini-keg of Gin and Tonics, and just as lethal. But it is a lot easier pouring giant ladles of the Gin Bucket potion into mason jars then it is serving and mixing 30 people the separate summer mixed drink. So The Gin Bucket came to the rescue in a giant plastic hardware store plastic bucket and Patty and Mark welcomed it behind the bar. No one complained, and all the folks from the West Coast had never had a Gin Bucket ladle before so I think I may have helped spread that disease.
The action was between 2-6PM, and that whole time Ajay was working hard tending barn inside the old threshing barn, making people whatever he could manage from his ten years of restaurant experience (which is anything they wanted). By the time I had my big dinner plate of chicken and pork, fresh rolls, and a cupcake I had to run home to do my chores. When I returned the bulk of the day-time guests had left leaving around fifty people mingling to the stereo, and I saw Ajay in a lawn chair taking in the sunset with a mixed drink. He looked tired and happy. I joined him, Gibson at my side, and we just sat in lawn chairs, (tired and now with a slight buzz) as the sun made its way down behind the valley. Better than television, and enhanced by the soundtrack of Josh Ritter playing over the stereo. The song Girl in the War triumphed into its last verse as the last rays of light hit the hay fields.
That is what contentment feels like.
By night fall the same farm was transformed into a beautiful wedding dance and table area. It lit up with hundreds of tiny white lights and it felt like a firefly after-party, twinkling above people dancing on the lawn barefoot or making their third Cosmo of the evening sing in their bellies. I got to meet new people, dance, sing with my sheepdog, drink, eat and laugh and it was exactly what I needed after a hard week of farming, writing, aiming arrows and training my pony. Patty and Mark put on the dog like no one I've yet to meet and I already told them I wanted my wedding reception there. "For you girl, okay."
Theoretical wedding, of course. No romance in my story right now, won't be for a while I'm sure. But someday, someday friends, I am going to waltz barefoot under those barn lights and hold on with fierce joy to him. He'll feel it too. And even if he never waltzed with a black pony riding dire wolf before, well, there's a first time for everything. Right?