I went to a Christmas party last Friday night. It was a very nice Christmas party, though that is not the point of this post.
When I arrived, the party was still warming up. I met two girls right off, and we began talking. Just then, a few people re-entered the house from the backyard. “Do you hear the bongos,” they asked. Of course, we could hear them. I heard music as I had approached the house. “The vegan restaurant around the corner is having a bongo-circle, gathering-thing. It’s kind of cool.”
The three of us decided that we should go check it out. The guy lives in a neighborhood that sidles right up to some commercial lots. So we shimmied through his back fence and walked up the street to the vegan restaurant.
Near the street, they had a table with a bit of information and a little donation basket. One of the girls contributed a few dollars and we entered the event. In the courtyard near the restaurant, fifty or so people were gathered. In the center, there was a little blazing fire pit. Around the fire, people were dancing, and jumping and swaying, and forming a perimeter around them, were muscians.
There was a guy beating on an upside-down trash can, several guys on those little side-drums, some bongos, a tamobourine or two, and a few other small instruments made the beat. Very stereotypical nineteen-sixties, if you can imagine. One of the dancers was the fittest fifty-ish year old woman I have ever seen. A few little boys jumped and leaped around the circle. One or two of the women were belly-dancers.
This isn’t where I usually spend my Friday nights. The three of us just stood and watched for quite a while. It was fun, exciting, and fascinating. We started clapped along. One of the girls said, “You really do just kind of feel the music.” I felt like a total outsider to some other culture, and it was a bit intimidating.
Suddenly, one girl grabs my wrist and the other girl’s and dragged us into the circle of dancers. Oh boy. Here am I in my little pea coat and flats, one girl is still in her business attire, and the other is well-dressed as well. We obviously aren’t part of this crowd. I was a bit afraid that we were intruding, or at the very least, we would be judged as intruders. But nobody minded. They kept clapping and cheering and playing.
“This is so not modest, conservative, homeschool-ish,” I couldn’t help thinking.
Thank God it wasn’t!