Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,
Steven
unzeugmatic

A Lovely Moment

I seem to organize my life around having the occasional truly lovely moment. Lovely moments, in my experience, take an awful lot of planning and trouble and worry, and even after all that there is never any way to guarantee one. Sometimes it might take years and years of, say, learning to shape anything in the Denson version of the Sacred Harp and developing decades-long friendships and spending vacation time and money to yield one lovely moment of song (a small cost for such a great value). Also, the same specific circumstances that yielded a lovely moment once may or may not yield it again -- definitely not in the same way. So I put in my time making sure I'm laying down the framework for these moments and every now and then lightning strikes. This relates to my belief that deep pleasures are rarely instantly accessible.

The Midwest Morris Ale regularly provides more than a weekend's share of these moments. I want to tell of one in particular, smack dab in the middle of the day in the middle of the Ale, an oasis of calm pleasure.

On Saturday of the Midwest Ale we all divided up into 5 buses for our "tours" around the Twin Cities. Each tour was led by one of the host teams (if you count the team from Prairie Farm Wisconsin as a host team), and each tour included a "pub stop" in the middle of the afternoon. My team decided that our pub stop would be the Land of Liberty, Peace, and Plenty, which is Bob Walser's basement. I think somebody suggested this off the cuff one night, not particularly seriously, and somebody else thought that it could work as a serious idea, and somehow it became a decision that nobody really made but everybody was happy with. About three weeks later we told Bob, who had somehow missed the disembodied discussion, and he was fine with this and set to work making sure he had enough home-brewed beer on hand. A few days before the Ale we realized that even though the pub stop was in addition to a box lunch the campsite provided, we really did need to provide some nice snacks. Even more shortly before the Ale I realized that I'd better provide a variety of non-alcoholic drinks as well (although Michael M. also brought some).

My team does food well. I brought a large amount of a variety of good cheese from Surdyks and a bunch of large spinach pies from Emily's Lebanese deli. Douglas brought the makings of artichoke dip. Michael M. made about a gross of delicious cookies. Andy made a bassinet of fruit salad, which always goes over well. Matt and Deb brought a bathtub of delicious humus from Shish cafe in St. Paul. Look at the extra care the restaurant proprietors took in the presentation:



I was impressed.

It was hot day, and we danced at Lake of the Isles and then walked over to Bob's, where I put our guests (Ann Arbor Morris and Prairie Waves Morris from Omaha) to work helping set up. My team all knew their way around Bob's house, and preparation was smooth and minimal and soon we were all sitting out on Bob's back porch, drinking beer and eating delicious snacks.

And then we sang. Just a little. A few of us led one song each. Everybody was in fine voice and good spirit and just sitting out there on that lovely afternoon having a little rest with a little song and some inspiring choruses was as nice of a time as it is possible to have. To the extent there was a theme it was that all songs had to reference the landlord and his ale, even if that meant writing an extra verse on the spot. Here we are, or some of us anyway. It looks as if Michael S. is leading a song:



I know it looks like little more than a group of ice cream men on a break, but trust me there was a spark and feeling in the air of great delight. I wish you could have been there. I wish everybody from the Ale could have been there. Maybe next time.
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