Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Any lad or lassie welcome

ast night, I had one of most amazing experiences of my life.
One of my greatest friends, Cody, called me a few days ago and asked me to go to the "Monthly Irish Jam Session" I know right?
I agreed that I would go, but was unsure of what to expect.
I met Cody at his apartment in Conway, and road with him to the coffee shop. We arrived to an old run down coffee shop. The building was green and white with chipping paint. We got out of the car and walked towards the door. A large bay window. I saw a group of middle-aged men and women with all sorts of instruments. I heard the faint sound of an Irish jig, but the sound of their feet stomping the ground was very distinguished.
We walked in the door. There was a young, college aged girl smiling brightly in front of us. She welcomed us and asked us what we would like to drink. I asked her if the smoothies were good. She suggested the blueberry-strawberry-mango, and that is what I got. Cody got Jasmine green tea, and we went and sat in the room with the circle of musicians.
Cody got out his guitar and banjo (named Lefty-Marie after me) and went to sit in the circle. I sat in the table next to Cody and listened. One of the 10 people in the circle start the song and the rest follow behind. Paintings draped the walls and the nude figures seemed to dance with the Irish sounds.
They wore rash flag shirts and hippie skirts. They closed their eyes and took in the music. Audience members dammed along on the tables.
Looking through the bay window, Cars drove by outside with people talking on their cell phone. I felt wildly disconnected from the world outside, and as the outside got darker, the disconnect became greater.
They played on and on and I ignored the fact that I had other places to be. Slowly musicians would leave. These old friends, who were only connected for their love of this foreign music, wished their families well and a happy 4th. With still a few musicians left they put away their instruments. A man diagonal from me began to sing in the old language of their beloved Ireland. After, he had finished his song others followed singing songs from the home of the Leprechaun.
Cody quietly packed up lefty Marie and Carrie the guitar. We wished them well and a happy fourth and they continued to sing as we walked out the door. I walked past the bay window one more time. I still heard the distinct sounds of their feet tapping and saw two men with their mouths wide open. But I had rejoined the world that just moments before I had been so disconnected. I began to answer the phone calls and text messages that I had received and refused to answer during the jam.
I can’t wait until next month, to be back in the old country, Irish through and through.

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