Monday, April 30, 2007

Why we love River Falls

The Cosmic Otters go South (narrative interruptus - weekend of work and other distractions).

We'd been informed when we arrived that there would be an a cappella group from Ferman College (University?) singing at the break and there were likely to be a good number of newcomers. "Great!" we thought. "New people always have lots to add to the dance."

"Add" turned out to be an understatement. This picture was taken at the start of the beginner's workshop.

The beginner's lesson had twice the number of dancers that a really well-attended Chicago dance gets all night. By the start of the dance, 208 people had walked in the door. Zowie!

It was the largest number of dancers we've ever played for by far, yet somehow this didn't intimidate us. Our sound guy was superb, and I think that helped calm any fears we may have had. The evening was cool, the circulation was good, and the atmosphere could not have been any better. If you are ever travelling in the area, you absolutely must come to a
contra dance at the River Falls Lodge.

(Meg here: This is what the Fool looks like when he pops a D-string on the fiddle in the middle of a tune and has to to sort of make up the rest of "Grub Springs" on three strings, retuning while he plays, because when you break one string on a fiddle, the rest of them go all wonky ... did I mention how pleased I am to play guitar? Thought so.)

This is David. He was kind enough to put us up in his home for the evening. We stayed in his beautiful house which is situated on 22 acres in the middle of Pickens County. To get there, we drove through Pumpkintown (though we didn't see any pumpkins) and over a freshly-killed skunk in the road. Running over the skunk proved to be really exciting, because I managed to get sprayed by the skunk through the car vents. This also had the effect of stinking up the car for the rest of the trip. Clearly the skunk had the last laugh.

The next morning, we dined on more of Sarah's eggs, and I got to try grits. These were far better grits than I've had in the past. David and I swapped a few fiddle tunes after breakfast while the women (and Gracie, the dog) went hiking on some of the trails on the property.

These are boiled peanuts, a Southern delicacy sold from stands on the side of the road - and if someone is selling something from a stand by the side of the road, it's probably interesting to eat.
Boiled peanuts taste a lot like cooked beans, maybe Southern edamame? Adina likes them; we think maybe we'll stick to roasted.

Coming later this week: Knitters in the wild, contra dance at the Grey Eagle and a knitting progress update.
(Also - it has totally not sunk in, but ... Maryland Sheep and Wool this weekend!! Eeeeeee!!)


KC said...

I just found your blog because I LOVE to knit socks, Imagine my surprise and delight when I found a post about Contra Dancing! I am originally from Vermont so I grew up contra dancing! my whole family regularly attend dances all over New England. What could be better than a blog that combines two of my favorite past times! I'll certainly be visiting often.

Eldronius said...

So glad to hear you were able to play at such a large dance. That is the kind I need to go to, so I blend in more haha.

And ugh on the skunk. I know how that is. Where I grew up I ran over a skunk which also sprayed it into the was hard not to throw up the smell was so strong.

Are you doing any contra dances in Chicago from June 20 - 23? Just curious :)

Scattered Gemini said...

MD S&W only in a few days! i know! So exciting. We're trying to finalize our plans as we're taking a few newbies with us this year.

If you see some gals having a "picnic" sort of a lunch around a green Ford Windstar, near the gate in the handicapped parking...stop and say "hello"!

Sandy said...

tell the fool that us theatre geeks can fix everything with gaffers tape!...well maybe not a fiddle. If you ever get out to the Omaha area for a dance I have a lovely guest bed