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Saturday, March 19, 2011

What a Feeling

Oh, What a Feeling – Lionel Richie in New Zealand

The kids and I just returned from seeing Lionel Richie in concert near Napier. It's about a 4-hour drive from our home base in the Bay of Plenty. I'm still on a high. Makes me feel like I'm back in college. Just as powerful as the music was the experience of talking and dancing with Kiwis who stepped above and beyond open-air concert politeness. The venue was the grounds of a winery. You bring a picnic, a blanket, a chair or 2 and dancing feet. We stood, ran and danced on those feet all night. Our closet neighbors included Sue, John, and their friend, Christine, whose husband had died 6 months ago. It breaks my heart, because I know what she's going through.Year One post-mortem: grief, pain, numbness. I told her I was sorry about her loss, and that I'd been widowed, too. Music blared too loudly to say much else. Maybe we didn't need to.

I balanced Fiona on my shoulders and danced. I thought, "What a shame I can't carry both kids at once. I need a partner...my husband... to lift the other child." Right about then, Christine hoisted Finley on her shoulders. Her kindness made me want to cry. Which is what I did, minutes later, when Lionel played the piano and sang, "Still." (I do love you...still) I flashed back to our home in Spokane, to the baby grand piano Sean insisted we ship cross-country from Ohio because it's been in the family for generations. I used to play "Still" on that piano, and Sean would say, "Sounds nice, honey" (I must not have plunked too many wrong notes). During the concert tonight, I could see the piano, feel the keys, hear the sound of Sean's voice. With Fiona still on my shoulders, I started to cry. I figured no one could see me - it was getting dark. Christine did. She walked to my side and put an arm around me. She stood there, holding me, while I cried. Her friend, Sue, gave me a hug and said, "It's okay. You can let it out." I had known these people all of 2 hours.

The song ended, and soon we were "Dancing on the Ceiling," "All Night Long." The feeling of joy, the happiness of being alive, of swaying, shimmying and shakin' it in this beautiful place with Fiona, Finley and strangers who took time to touch my heart... the feeling is indescribable. It's joy. Pure joy wrapped in a late Kiwi summer night, lighted by a full moon.

The kids spent most of the night running races, playing tag, turning endless cartwheels. I stood at the side of the concert area watching their boundless energy while Lionel sang, "Hello." (Fiona asked me during each song, "Is this 'Hello?' When is it gonna be 'Hello?'" I guess my kitchen concert made an impression). 

I wonder where you are...and I wonder what you do.
Are you somewhere feeling lonely [yes]
Or is someone loving you? [no]

Then came the rhythmic reprieve: Thank God for "Brickhouse." It's one of my all-time favorites. Perfect way to mush up melancholy. If you can't shake it to "Brickhouse," your "groove thang" must be busted.
Near the concert's end, Fiona said, "I like this music. I thought it was going to be bad, but it was really good." Yes, honey. It was. What a feeling.

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