.. is past. It's what J. and I do because we don't go to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving. We discovered the Pittsburgh contra dance community's big dance weekend is in early November, so we go to that and visit his family during the day.
It's a good system. His mom and grandmother get to see us in November (which is important to them), we help them take his grandma's porch furniture and stuff in for the winter, and he and I get to go dancing three days in a row and go to a party Saturday night.
Then we get to stay in Chicago for Thanksgiving and go to Breaking Up Thanksgiving, our community's dance weekend.
So we get two dance weekends rather than none, his family gets a visit, and everyone is happy.
This year, we took Ed with us. He's a grad student from England who plays the fiddle and dances. He is also an excellent traveling companion - packs light, is omnivorous and entertaining in the car and has a very good selection of music on mp3 and CD.
We had a great time playing tunes with some of the folks from Hotpoint String Band on Saturday as well as some of the Pittsburgh musicians, stayed up too late, got home to Chicago too late ... completely worth it. Between that and Breaking Up Thanksgiving, I think I'll make it through the holidays now.
Ed met three of four dancing sisters, all in their early 20s, and seemed somewhat poleaxed by the experience.
"I asked the oldest one what she did when she wasn't dancing, and she said 'crime,' which I thought was wonderful," he told us. "And then I realized she said 'farming.' "
We meant to leave at 3 p.m. on Sunday, before the dance ended, and the Fool and I made the mistake of reminding Ed of this when one of the girls was just about to ask him to dance.
"You can't go!" she said. "You have to stay and dance with me." And she and her sister made big round moony eyes at him, like puppies with ponytails, and he looked at us helplessly and so we all danced a square together and left much later than we meant to.
This was my favorite conversation of the weekend:
ED: (In wonderment) They came out so well - I wonder why their mother didn't make more?
ME: Did you know four children means 3 years of pregnancy?
ED: Yes, but how much of that was the waddling part? That's supposed to be the worst bit.
(Zombie marching band with squash, Arthur, Ill.)