I find that it’s really hard to meet people who have common interests and personalities but who are also tolerable. Remember when you were a little kid and you’d meet another kid at school or out somewhere with your parents and you’d be fast friends? I loved that.
But as adults we’re not like that. I suppose all the baggage of our lives adds up over time and we close ourselves off somewhat. I do that anyway. Not sure about you. It just seems that I have a tendency to meet people who suck all the life and energy out of me. Like the seem fun at first then they let their real personalities out and I run screaming the other direction. Remind me to tell you about PsychoYogaStalkerHosebeastChick someday.
As a result of all that past baggage, I’m extra careful and leery about meeting new people. I’m always looking for signs that a new friend is going to turn into so I can cut bait and run before I invest too much time or energy into a relationship.
However, one of the things I’m most happy about/grateful for about moving to Maryland are the friends I have met so far. I cannot believe my fortune in having found so many really nice people very shortly after moving here. In fact, I had contacted the band I play with (not the dramatic one, the other fife & drum group) about a year before we moved to Maryland. One of the conditions of me agreeing to pull up stakes from Michigan and move elsewhere was that I had a huge say in where we went. It had to be good for Jay’s job, but it had to offer lots of things to do as well as musical outlets for me.
So I contacted the F&D group about a year ahead of time to feel them out and it seemed like a good fit. I met them about 3 weeks after moving here and they welcomed me with warm, open arms and I am super grateful.
Yesterday was our annual holiday party and it was just awesome. One of our members lives on several acres on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Some years ago he moved an old log cabin to his property and added it to his existing house. The house itself is amazing in that it’s huge but warm and inviting. Very casual and homey. But the log cabin part of it where we hang out and talk and play music is the best. It’s just a huge room with all sorts of eclectic furniture, low lighting, also very homey and comfortable.
His wife is the most incredible cook. She baked a ham, homemade rolls, and three kinds of soup. We all sat around slurping and munching and grunting with delight (did I mention she’s an awesome cook? LOL) as we enjoyed the feast by candlelight and the light of the Christmas tree. The soup and a few glasses of wine helped warm my body, but the music, conversation, and friendship warmed and melted my heart, as if it were a Hershey bar left in the sun.
After dinner the songbooks came out. Those of us not playing Irish whistles, fiddles, or flutes sang along. I brought my C flute with me this year and it sounded really good with the fiddle and whistles. I had such a great time that I was the last to leave after helping them clean up all the food and dirty dishes.
It reminded me of the Christmases of my youth, minus the cleaning, baking, and screaming/fighting with my mother. When I was a kid, my parents used to host Christmas Eve dinner. Everyone would come. We’d literally have about 40 people in total for dinner. During dessert my dad would light a bunch of candles and turn the lights off and we’d sing Christmas carols. The cool thing was that we went around the table so each person could call out their favorite song for the group to sing. My brother would always sing O Holy Night. My cousin would sing Little Drummer Boy. He’s an alto so he’d sing the melody and my dad and brother (I’d say they are both tenors) would sing the rhythm and that was always a highlight. My Aunt Rose and gramma would sing a few songs in Italian as well.
Somewhere along the way the families split into smaller families and we stopped having those large gatherings. My cousins, most of whom are about 10 years older than me, got married, had kids, and started their own traditions. After my grandparents died we were down to me and Jay, my brother, and my parents. Now it’s just my brother, nephew, and parents there and me and Jay here.
But I still have the memories of those Christmases past and the hope of more Christmases with my new friends and family here. Yep, family here. Because I believe family is not just those related by blood, but also those bonded by love and friendship.