Since I moved to Belmont 18 months ago, I’ve been creating communities for myself. Now that the worst of my grieving for Jody is over, I need to be out there in the world.
I love going to the Belmont Diner three times a week for breakfast. The horseshoe-shaped lunch counter means that I get to talk to lots of folks. Then there’s the elementary school where I volunteer in a Grade 5/6 class. Kids and adults know me there and being known is a blessing.
And there are more gathering places: the Barking Cat pub, the Belmont Library, community events in the upstairs meeting room at the arena.
I often go to brunches and concerts at the church on Toronto Island, 200 kilometres from home. I’m a familiar face there. Also in London at the Cuckoo’s Nest folk club, Wellington Fitness and the Aeolian Hall concert venue.
Last night was a new opportunity. A friend told me about weekly folk music gatherings in an old house by the Thames River. Why not? I’ve thought for years how cool it would be to go to a Newfoundland kitchen party, where everyone shows up with an instrument and their voice. But that’s thousands of kilometres from me.
I got out of Scarlet and walked a little nervously towards the lights and parked cars. I reached for the door, crossed the threshhold and there was Christine, smiling at the newcomer. She and her husband John have hosted Wednesday evenings at their home for fifteen years.
The living room was narrow, with a small stage set up along one wall. Chairs and couches were getting full with music fans, and smiles were aimed every which way, including at me. I felt warm, included, seen.
The first set featured Jake, a mellow pianist, who shared his melodies, his knowledge of how to play jazz, and the voice of his lovely wife Julia.
Then there were the Back Seat Girls, four women (sometimes 5 and even 6) who loved belting out the fast tunes, many of which were so singable. I was in heaven, sitting there with instant friends, sipping ginger tea, munching chocolate chip cookies, and throwing in a harmony or two.
Wow. What’s happening? Another community … and so effortless to embrace. I am blessed.
The music lasted till 11:00, the smiles no doubt much longer. I got to drive a fellow home. He just happened to be the king of trivia questions and how to coach people in answering them. At red lights and beyond, I tackled this one: Name nine pro baseball, basketball or hockey teams in North America whose names don’t end in “s”. Here’s one to get you started – the Tampa Bay Lightning.
So I got to do a good deed, stretch my brain cells and laugh a lot. Earlier I got to sing, drum my fingers on my thighs and enjoy a lot of happy human beings.
Wednesday evenings sound good to me.