The Musicians Gathering

5 August 2009
Our 14th Wedding Anniversary

Folk Dance Showcase

It was a big day, and so this is a long post.  But, I promise, it’s worth reading to the end.

My husband called me first thing this morning to wish me a happy anniversary. Despite having three weeks to get used to the idea of being apart on this day, it still made me cry.  Kyle and I don’t have too many days of special celebration that are “ours.”  Our birthdays both fall during faire season, and so we are blessed with many friends to celebrate with on those days.  We don’t observe Valentine’s Day, because Kyle has major issues with the commercialization of it, and I respect that.  We do spend much quality time together, and often do dinners out, and even give each other special little gifts “just because.”  But, the very nature of that is that it’s wonderful because it’s not expected.  I am a ritualistic sort of girl, who really likes the traditions and ceremony of holidays and special occasions.  And, in the grand scheme of a marriage, no day is more sacred than the anniversary of those vows.  So, we have always treated our wedding anniversary as a day more special than any other, more sacred, if you will, and gone out of our way to be together on that day.  This is the first year when life intervened and that could not happen.

So, getting my day started was hard.  Kyle’s phone call helped, even if it did make me cry.  And, I shed a few more tears every time I thought about the whole thing.  And, every time somebody new wished me a happy anniversary.  I posted to Facebook that I was sad to be celebrating the day “long distance” which, of course, meant that dozens of people were reminded to say “happy anniversary” when they saw me.   I do love Facebook.  That was wonderful, and heartwarming, and . . . made me cry.

So, I’m sitting here at my computer looking at my email, when John Myers knocks on my door and crosses my catwalk carrying a gorgeous arrangement of roses in a vase.  Yep . . . more tears.  Only this time, they are tears of joy and sadness!  There are fourteen perfect roses—ten red ones, arranged around four white ones—a rose for every year.  John tells me they are from Kyle and I hug him and thank him, and send him on his way.  Then, after wiping the tears, I called Kyle to thank him.  And, cried some more.  I also called Kelly, Kyle’s minion in this anniversary endeavor, to thank her for her part in it, and I learned that she had asked for the flowers to arrive at the show later in the evening.  Sweet thought—I cried again.

<sigh> Okay. So, enough tears, right?  I got myself organized, finished my editing of my program, and headed out to run the errands, including the printing of the program for the show.  I indulged in a wee bit of retail therapy while I was out, and procured a new pair of shoes perfect for dancing the cancan and later wearing to Dickens on the Strand.  I got some lunch, dropped off my laundry, and was back on site in time to organize my own costuming for the show, do some stage and house management duties, and be at the stage, almost on time. 

Our crowd seemed awfully small as we were getting things set up, and musicians and dancers were gathering.  But, the more time that passed, the more people seemed to trickle into the area.  And, by showtime, I was really pleased with the number of people that were seated waiting to be entertained. I wore the hat of House Manager before the show and at intermission (box office, seating control, house lights —okay, there weren’t any house lights, of course, but I did walk around announcing, “house lights blinking . . . imagine now . . . house lights blinking . . . blinky-blinky . . . house lights blinking.” at five minutes ’til curtain.  (And . .  um, of course, there wasn’t a curtain, either, but hey.)

Then, I switched hats to Stage Manager. (Yes, it’s already on the list to make sure if we ever do this again, there is more help!)  I had prepared a giant page for each Act and posted it backstage, outlining the order of the show, for quick and easy reference.   Susabella had donated the use and done the set up of a great little EZ up pavillion (with lights) for a dressing room.  Ginger donated the use of a clothing rack and I provided a fan and a big mirror, and with a few benches and a couple of tarps for flooring, we were pretty well prepared for quick costume changes and keeping everything organized and running smoothly.  I kept the performers informed of what was happening on stage, and made sure each number was ready to go and waiting in the wings.

Somehow, magically, mysteriously—everything really fell together, and the show ran incredibly smoothly.   Even I was a little impressed!  Our emcee, Doug Mumaw, did an outstanding job of engaging the crowd and tying things together, while moving the show along at a steady pace.  Even the teaching numbers went rather quickly and more smoothly than I’d dared to hope.  The cancan number that we six girls worked so hard on seemed to be very well received, and many folks told us afterwards how impressed they were with it.  At intermission, we all mingled and got some feedback from what seemed to be an entirely happy, rather entranced audience.  Yay!  And a number of folks, both show participants and not, used the stage to swing dance to the intermission music! Again—Yay!

After I “blinked the house lights” again, we resumed the show with our second act, and the first number—a simple Native American rhythmic walking dance— saw nearly twenty people volunteer and take the stage to learn it!  That was the moment I really knew we’d been successful.  People had enjoyed what had happened up to that point so much, that they wanted to be a part of it!  Wahoo!

The second act went well—every number seemed to be a hit.  Our finale club/disco dance was a blast—and the disco ball was a huge hit, thanks partially to Carl in his red velvet and zebra print pimp-daddy suit!

When we were done, John was perfect in his timing of delivery of the  flowers that I’d ordered for Jim and Joyce.  The crowd saw it happen, and Doug made sure as we all expressed our appreciation of the orchestra.  Then he started talking about me.  He introduced me with a flourish that was as flattering as I can imagine, and I was content to curtsey and say “thank you,” but he and my friends, had other ideas.  I was pushed to the front of the stage, and Doug continued by saying that not only had I worked very hard to pull this all together, but that at this very moment I “should not even be here . . .”  “Uh oh,” I thought.  He’s gonna make me cry.   He continued, “she should be in the loving arms of her husband, celebrating her 14th wedding anniversary.”  Yep, I lost it right there. 

But, he wasn’t done.  He went on to say something about how because of my dedication to this project, I didn’t go home for my special day, but that he couldn’t put it all into words as well as Kyle himself.  “Uh oh” again.  He proceeded to open an envelope and pull out a little note card on which were written the words that Kyle wrote . . .

“Hi Kitten,
Through the wonder of nearly-instant communication and the love of friends present there with you, these words are coming to you from Texas where I, unfortunately, sit in solitude wishing instead to be with you. Today is the 14th Anniversary of the day I swore to be your best friend, your consort and your confidant and though we are 844 miles apart physically, I am there in every meaning of the word spirit. Our friends surrounding you there will embrace you until a week from today, I will stretch forth my hand and pull you to a hug that is as full of love and hope as it was fourteen years ago.
 All my love,
Your husband, Kyle”

Somewhere in the process of Doug reading this aloud,  I was also handed a beautiful white rose surrounded by thistles.   And then, I realized that Sean had also carried multiple giant boxes of tissues to the stage and was presenting them to me!  The comic relief of that is what saved me from being more of a sappy, teary mess than I was.   That, and the silly joy of being literally wrapped in dozens of arms of my friends who’d been standing behind me.  It was a beautiful, special moment that will live in my heart and my memory all the days of my life. 

I managed to pull myself together enough to say a few words of thanks . . . mostly incoherent, I’d wager . . . to Jim and the musicians and dancers, and tech guys, and to the audience.  Jim joined me on the stage and we hugged, as chaos won out, and the focus finally fell from me.  Wow.  What a lovely thing, to be so surrounded by people who care, and to have such a beautiful, and public declaration of the love Kyle and I have for each other.

What had threatened to be a horrible, difficult day, had turned out just fine, thanks to Kelly and her wiley ways, and my wonderful husband and his understanding of how important the day was to me.   And a successful show didn’t hurt, either!

After some basic clean up, a number of us went to Chili’s for dinner and continued our fun for another hour or two.  After dinner, I wanted to walk over to the full moon music jam and enjoy that for a while, but I took a moment to check my email and Facebook for the first time since early morning.  That’s when I realized that 28 people had taken the time and effort to comment on my status with happy anniversary wishes—and that’s when I had my final cry.  I am so blessed with wonderful people in my life, that sometimes it is simply overwhelming.  Thank you to each and every one of you!  I changed my status on FB to reflect the gratitude I was feeling, and promised my friends I’d update the KRuMB with the whole story of the day.  And, now you have it!

I walked over to the jam, full of appreciation and glowing with the success of the show and the depth of love in my life.  I had missed most of the music, but I did get to enjoy it for half an hour or so before the musicians declared “tired” would have to win over more music.  I couldn’t argue that, and didn’t stay up much later.  It had been a full, happy and very memorable day.

Thanks for reading along with me. 

And, Kyle—thanks for marrying me.

~MB