We ended 2007 in much the same way we started it - on stage, playing for a contra dance. This time, we were in Lansing, Mich., rather than St. Louis, Mo. The Lansing dancers put on a heck of a potluck and party. There was homemade eggnog, and a big dish of shrimp cocktail and some really good crockpot mostaccoli and some kind of crunchy broccoli salad and everyone said the flan was good, but I didn't have any. We met some Ravelers there, too, because it's a small, small world now.
Here's the dancers.
Here's the band. The Fool and I played as the Cosmic Otters - Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian - for the first half, and then invited our friend Sam up to sit in on some old-time tunes after the break. Fellow Chicagoan Dot Kent was calling, and her husband, Chirps Smith, was along for the ride, and as he is an outstanding fiddler, we persuaded him to sit in with us too, which was a great deal of fun.
I like playing old-time tunes on New Year's Eve - it's good party music. It makes me feel like I'm part of a much bigger tradition, standing on the bones, as it were and carrying a little bit forward. Which, I suppose, if you play any kind of traditional music, you're always doing, but I have this somewhat romantic notion that people have been playing these tunes for years and years at parties and at holidays, and when I do, I feel much more connected to the past than usual.
But enough armchair philosophy.
There's Dot on the far left, then Sam, then the Fool, and then Chirps. We played all the fun standards, although we got a little bit excited and couldn't seem to slow down.
"Well," Dot said, "If you can't play slower, I might as well call squares."
Even the otters got into the party spirit. Here's Duncan with his new friend.
It started snowing while we were dancing and when we drove back to our hosts' house, the trees were covered with snow clinging to each black branch. We had more tunes before we went to bed, and I got to hang around with Lynn.
Not only is she a knitter, but she and her partner make up the Fabulous Heftones, a duo that performs songs from the 1920s on ukelele and heftone - that's an instrument that looks like a cross between an upright bass and a banjo, and it's something to see. She gave us one of their CDs - fun, happy stuff.
The next morning, we stopped in at Threadbear, and continued on our way home. We ran into some snow, but the Fool did very well at driving. I slept.
Now, though, it's back to the old routine. I got home from work today to find gray yarn wrapped around the living room furniture and dining table chairs. I followed the trail through the house, down the hall, and into the bedroom.
There, I found this.
Happy 2008, everyone.