This year, in the spirit of community, I wanted to invite you (the reader) to share some words of your own on community! This space will turn ten this year, and I see no better way to kick off the tenth year with words from those who return to this space. Here’s our first post of the series. As always, thank you for being here.
Community, to me, conjures two thoughts: “The Last Waltz”, and the women I watch it with. It’s hard for me to parse community from Martin Scorcese’s 1978 documentary of The Band’s last concert, “The Last Waltz”, really, and it makes sense, because the film is such a warm gathering meant to be watched at Thanksgiving. I’ve watched it every Thanksgiving since high school; but it really became tradition in college, when I met my core group of girlfriends. My female friendships are special: I can feel their hair and the sensation of a soft kiss on the cheek. Neverending boogies in wooden clogs and velvet and shearling, and drinks in hand, spills on the floor, mandatory. Croons at the top of the lungs to “The Weight”, and “Helpless”, and “Caravan”, and–damn, oh damn, “Coyote”, thank you, Joni.
I’m several drinks deep by the time we sit for dinner. Probably gin, but maybe whiskey? There’s spliffs and cigarettes and cloves and incense–let’s just say there’s smoke in the air. There’s sweat, and damn, doesn’t the sweat of your friends smell good, like truly good? There’s jalapeno cornbread and, of course, turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and garlicky brussels and kabocha soup and kabocha dumplings. Maybe green beans with soy sauce and ginger and garlic? It’s all brought together, sometimes on top of a pool table with a big slab of plywood over it; sometimes on a round table to serve yourself before finding a seat where you can; and sometimes on a small table with a few chairs and the friends who got vaccinated and tested and tested and tested.
You’ll know when the mood is right for “The Last Waltz”, feel the right amount of obsession and reverence from the audience. A twinge of sentimentality, a deep breath when Robbie Robertson says, “It’s not like it used to be.” It’s a bittersweet performance, marking the end of The Band’s career together. Not everyone understands. When you find the right group to watch it with, you must hold them close. For me, I know my community will always be changing, just a little; but I also know The Last Waltz and my ladies are forever.
Winter Community #1 right this way