noticing joy on the surface of simple things … the evidence of holiness happening in the daily grind.

Day 5: Happy Hour October 6, 2013

Final Button 3Friday nights have always been happy hour nights – drinks and dips.    There is always an appetizer or two, often salsa cream, cheese dip, layered bean dip, veggies and dip, something with….dip.  Tonight we are going to try making a new adult beverage that we’ve discovered here in South Florida.   Its called the Caipirinha and great for a tropical evening on the patio.  There will be salsa cream and chips, some praline Virgina peanuts and hopefully good conversation about today’s house hunting adventure.

There was a yearly Happy Hour that was my favorite and a fine example of food’s love language.  It happened during the season of Lauren and Lyndsay’s piano lessons.  Their piano teacher Willie H was and still is an artist.  She doesn’t have long slender fingers typically associated with pianists.  Yet I couldn’t help but watching her hands when she played her annual encore of “Bumble”, her original jazz version of a famous piano piece. Her fingers were made for speed.  Her soul was made for music.  Her heart was wired for igniting and fanning the flame of passion for piano in her students.

You would not want to be busy on the night of piano recital.  It was anything but typical.  Ok,  maybe the formal wear of the students and their mandatory clipped nails would be like any other recital but that is where the resemblance to typical ended.  The unfamiliar began when we arrived.  We were welcomed into a large room with Happy Hour going on.  Wine, beer, soda,  seltzer and a table full of appetizers were in abundance for  both the nervous and not so nervous piano protegé’s and their guests.  Guests and students shared dips and drinks while students took turns warming up on the shiny black grand piano.   Happy hour offered a time for settling in and settling down.  The food and drink made time and space for knowing and being known by others who were beneficiaries of the Artist’s influence in their lives.

Ages 5 to over 50 took their seat on the black padded bench and delighted listeners with their well prepared pieces.  The program Willie put together described the musical pieces as well as some of the finer and funnier points of the student’s life.  Some students used one finger at a time while others seemed to use their whole body.  Some played what was written on  the page, others wrote and played their own.  Some were accompanied by voice or strings or a second set of fingers on the piano.  All had been nurtured and encouraged by the artist herself to bring what is below the surface –  sometimes very deep and vulnerable – to the piano, to the space in the large room; to a place that becomes almost sacred as those who listen and connect to more than just notes and keys and chords.

Happy Hour at the recital said: “Welcome and wake up because the best is yet to come. ” The best was the music, not just performance, but practice and passion and fun in action.  When the music ended, the community continued with potluck dinner – and dessert of course.

Thanks Willie for the memories.  Cheers to you and all those you love with your artistic language of love.

Yes I know this isn’t Friday anymore.  I didn’t finish last night…  You can have happy hour any day you want.

“Salsa Cream?” you ask?  We have it often, and get others hooked on it.  Here’s how you make it:

  • Your favorite Salsa  (currently JR has Mad Butcher salsa shipped in cases from Iowa!)
  • Ranch dressing  ( I make ours with 1 cup good brand mayonnaise, 1 cup buttermilk, 3 Tablespoons or one packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix)
  • Pour salsa in a bowl, pour some ranch dressing on top, dip in your chips.

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