Somedays I'm completely taken aback by how much I don't know. Last night it was so blatantly clear that this city still has a whole treasure chest full of surprises for me as the cuteness-meter went way off the charts. It was my very first banjo night at the Elks Club.
My friends have been going for ages & I've never cared to join in because the thought of 30 old guys practicing banjos sounded too redneck to stomach. As usual, I WAS SO WRONG. Not redneck at all, it reminded me more of a U.S.O. show & I instantly fell in love. I can't even describe how enamored I am with this group right now. The music was jazz & big band style... very WWII... & of course they did a lot of Christmas classics that haven't melted my heart like this since the first time I heard Bing Crosby.
There whole room was a mix of 60+ folks & 20-somethings, with very few in between... but it was like a great big family. There was this sweet old lady who kept telling me & a friend we were such a cute couple & trying to get us to dance... when we corrected that we weren't together she said "Well that's no fun!" with a big wink & elbow nudge. haha How can you not love that?!
That sweet little gem belting it out on the mic is the fabulous DJ Devine. The rest of the night she wore a boa & made her rounds to all the tables, & let me tell you that dame has SASS. One of the guys with us tried to butter her up by telling her how great she is, to which she responded "Do you mind writing that to me on the back of a $20?" haha This isn't her first rodeo. Clearly.
And then I discovered something else I had NO CLUE about until now... there's a website called FNtv that did a special on finding community in strange places, using 3 Pittsburgh groups as examples. Banjo night was one, my tattoo artist was another, & a hula-hoop club as the 3rd. I love love LOVE it for so many reasons... but partly because it was MY community in this video!!! The tattoo shop was filled with friends of mine in the background, even with the hula-hooper who I didn't know they interviewed a girl who was on my marathon relay team! Even just-friends-nudge-wink-from-old-lady friend is in the video too & he never mentioned it before. It just brought to my eyes what a connected web we're all in. It's amazing.
The video is actually really well made, they did a beautiful job. I know it's asking a lot to say watch a 30 minute video... but if you do get the chance, I'm sure it'll warm your heart a bit. (it's so chilly out, at this point any kind of warming is good warming!)