We ought to live each day as though
it were our last day here below.
But if I did, alas, I know
it would have killed me long ago.
- Piet Hein
Tonight, I'm going to a party.
I'll jump in my car around 7:30 or so and make the hour-long drive to the Evangeline Region of Prince Edward Island, the centre of Acadian culture in these parts. There, in the town of Wellington (how odd that the principal town in the Acadian Region should be named for a British oppressor!) I will park my car behind a long row of others and wend my way up a driveway to the side porch of a gorgeous century home on the main drag.
I've been to this house before, but I can never remember whether it's the second or third house after the intersection. That doesn't concern me at all - from the moment I step out of my car, I'll just follow the sound of the music. When it comes to finding an Acadian kitchen party, you can play it by ear.
Once I get to the porch, I'll have to navigate perilously stacked beer cases and snow-filled coolers, stopping for a few minutes in the inevitable "smoking section" to greet friends I haven't seen in months or even since last year at this time. I'll dump my case of Diet Pepsi in a snowbank and head in, dropping my shoes in the huge pile at the door before I deliver my spinach dip to the hosts, assuming I can find them in the jam-packed kitchen. That done, and with drink in hand, I'll head for the parlour ... and the music.
Ah, the music.
The music will fill every room and resonate through the walls - Acadian fiddle, with a unique, incredible, foot-tapping tic-a-TAC, tic-a-TAC rhythm that is so infectious you can't sit still. There will be piano, several guitars, perhaps a button accordion or two, maybe even some Uillean pipes, and at any given time eight, ten, fifteen fiddlers, all playing the same tune in perfect unison, bending their bows into it while those of us mere mortals sit on the sideline and either whoop and shout encouragement or provide percussion.
The percussion might come from a bodhran or two (Irish drums), perhaps some spoon players, and almost certainly the most ancient form of drumming, pedal percussion - the feet meeting the floor as one dancer, another, another, two, three six at a time all step-dance in perfect time.
The food will be plentiful and unusual, the conversation lively and in at least two languages (three, if you count the bastardized dialect that is called chiac, wherein you might "... venez au deli pour acheter un ham sammich et un cup of coffee"), the laughter will ring out from every corner, and the music will fill everyone's soul to bursting.
I'm thinking it's going to be a good night.