I feel as though lately I have been such a whiny weenie, a wet blanket, a … drag. But, how is one supposed to feel in times of unprecedented numbers of people dropping from this plane of existence? Young, old, healthy, not-so-healthy, no rhyme or reason, just, poof!, they’re ripped from our arms. Not to mention my son moving farther away. Sigh.
“Act now and you, yes, you, can have a happier, healthier life in mere days! It’s called ART, CUTTING LOOSE, LOVE!”
Getting ready for my annual summer bash this weekend, I started getting more excited, my spirit more lifted. There will be music and more music, good food, and my favorite part: a crafts project. This year, pet rocks. All my circles of friends spin together this one day and it makes me incredibly happy.
Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to help Paso Robles children’s librarian Heather Stephenson host an afternoon of free art to folks there. I did tie-dye, naturally. She’d ordered all the supplies, which I put together and brought along to their facility near the park.
“We’re going to do this on the grassy knoll on the corner,” she chuckled. Cool. How public can you get?
Advertised for kids ages 10 and older, there were naturally younger siblings, older volunteers at the library, whole families, teens passing by.
“Just run across the street to the Goodwill and see if you can find anything cotton,” we prompted. In two hours, we saw probably 60 people, including two older women from Oakland, staying at the Paso Inn and happened to walk by and decided to have some fun. It was.
As a number of people had tie-dyed before, I always encouraged them to help others. Art like this is a wonderful opportunity to practice cooperation. Brainstorm, help, watch and learn, share. Much like my party this weekend. Much like the town party we just had yesterday to end all parties. Sheri Odenwald’s memorial.
How odd. Normally, it would be she singing at someone’s celebration or gathering. We finally were doing so for her. A little overdue. The Vets Hall was transformed into a time machine of old faces grown up or just older.
Slide shows of “old-timers,” family, soul siblings and all, brought many tears, but I was determined to remember the point, the gift that was given us all by this wonderful friend: music and love. I never heard a mean thing out of her mouth. No judgments. Firm when needed. With respect. All these emotions were obviously thick in the air as an all-star band of musicians stoked everyone into a dancing, singing, arm-linking, crying, smiling fish ball. Hmmmm, fish ball in the Vets Hall. … Anyway …
The children and family of our friend and mentor stepped up and shared their lives with us all. I am grateful for that. We all lived it with you in some way or another. Thanks for reminding us and remembering us.
Faces were found, some tensions may have been put to rest, realizations and connections were made. (Thank you for sharing that you’d underestimated me — heavens, if I were overestimated, I’d be nervous about living up to the expectations!) But many of us realized one could not put what this all was into words — it was emotion and feeling. Some of us here for 20, 30 and more years “grew up” together. Now we are seeing the fabric unravel a little at a time.
To each of us hanging on to these threads, to those grasping at them, I say — as I suppose I so often do here — let the love flow, call each other, hug everyone you meet. Don’t wait, don’t worry, just jump in and let your freak flags fly, be it on a hot street corner making art, introducing yourself to a new face at a party, or not being afraid to cry in public and show who you really are.
This town rocks. You all do. Don’t forget that!