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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Trip to Seattle: The last day

Here is my hostess Kimberly - musical tzarina of the Cascadia English Country Dance Weekend - entering the "Polish Home" for our morning session.

She told me the area was named "Capitol Hill" by early real estate tycoons who hoped the state capitol would be placed there, in which case their fortunes would multiply agreeably. This not-so-subliminal suggestion failed; the name remained.

The stairs up to the dance hall are decorated with framed tributes to famous Poles, including Helena Modjeska, star of my dear friend Beth's current book project.

There are also pictures of Poles dancing, like this one ...

... which was a reflection of what was actually happening in real time at the top of the stairs.

Here are some of the musicians and the soundman's prow. The fiddler in the middle is Cathy Whitesides, who wrote a gorgeous tune ("My Cabin Home") which is a Pratie Head staple.

When I was done playing, I thought I'd go hide somewhere, but welcoming hands kept reaching out to me and inviting me to dance, so for a happy hour and a half I tried to remember my right from my left and not ruin the elegant patterns being traced on the floor by the experts.

The last dance was, of course, a waltz, and by then I couldn't take any more. I am an inveterate wallflower: I skulked happily on the sidelines.

My eyes teared up at the noble sight of human beings, aging as gracefully and bravely as they can, coming together to have a good time and hurting nobody in the process. Motion and music, what an excellent combination. At that moment I was quite in love with my species.

We were advised to stop by the kitchen on the way out: Polish delicacies were being cooked and served.

Tables of very Aryan young people eating and yelling lustily made me a little bit nervous.

Then Kimberly took me to a farmer's market, where she bought kale and I lusted after home-made toffee.

While shopping we mused over the vagaries of life, which brought to her husband Paul the Squamous Monster four years ago; said monster may have in large part departed but the repercussions will endure forever, and let me remind you NEVER to ask anyone who's had cancer: "So, are you cured?" It's either morbid curiosity or a gauche reminder that YOU are tired of hearing about, or worrying about, the sickness.

I cheerfully ogled this handsome purveyor of austere local vegetables.

More foodstuffs (see "handcrafted groceries" in previous post) I don't think will be coming to North Carolina any time soon: bruschettini handcrafted from octopus & chickpea, rhubarb with sage blossoms, egg with wood sorrel, and stinging nettle pesto.

Worm tea: it doesn't say so, but I infer it is not for human consumption.

Finally, utterly overwhelmed with all that the day had contained, I fled to Kerry Park and the company of my fellow tourists.

And I got one of them to take my picture so I could prove to myself that I really did make this trip across the country to play beautiful English country dance music and be housed by kindly, generous fellow bloggers and be moved to tears by the kindness of strangers.

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At 6:49 AM, Blogger kattbanjo said...

Meow! Vegetable guy is cute. Invite him for some stinging nettle pesto. Seattle looks really beautiful. I saw in the weekly world news this week about a midget vampire in Seattle (true story ! ) who is biting people's knees. They interviewed an ER doc about it. so be careful out there! I wanted to warn you...


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