Saturday, November 7, 2009
First Friday: the Ultimate Dance Party of Community
Last night was First Friday in downtown Macon, and as many of you who saw me, I was very much a part of it. First, the Candy's Land crew visited the Gallery of Macon Arts for the latest exhibit opening. Even I got to be a part of the fun as Mom - and even Shuga D - carried me around in the pink polka-dot carrier as they sipped wine, laughed and caught up with friends (and even family!) and admired the work of the artists.
We then made a visit at the Yappy Hour silent auction fundraiser next door to the Rookery to support our local shelter animal advocates, Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S. We are not sure what we ended up with just yet . . . but Mom did make a bid on another fashionable carrier pour moi.
After that, it was dinner at Lemongrass before deciding that it was best to make an early night and head home. But when Mom and Shuga D stepped out of the Cherry Street Thai restaurant, to what did their wondering eyes but appear?
Dancing in the street!!
A full-scale, real deal deejay with the entire set-up was spinning dance tunes on the sidewalk just outside the Hummingbird.
So just who were these crazy folks cutting a rug on the concrete? They were young, old, black and white. They were fun-seekers, local professionals, movers and definitely shakers. Mom and Shuga, who thought they were tired and going home, looked at each other and started to boogie. Joining them was the Kool and the Gang - the mother-daughter dynamo team of Ruth and Ellis Ann Sykes. Before they knew it, they looked over and saw Mayor Reichert doing the funky chicken. It was like someone had spiked everyone's drink with a First Friday groove potion.
Among the crowd was an older African American gentleman who said it was his first First Friday. He kept apologizing to those who would listen . . . but what he didn't realize is he was paying a compliment. "I'm normally not like this," he said in between dance moves. "But I've had a couple of drinks, and I am having such a good time!" We never got his name - but I sure hope to see him again.
Last night couldn't have come at a better time for Mom who spent a day gritting her teeth and shaking her head over the word "perception." How do you respond to those who think downtown is dangerous? How do you get through to those who are wearing blinders of ignorance? How do you even begin to force someone to see the beauty of diversity?
Answer: You don't. You tell them to get the hell out of the way as you make your way through the crowd, grab a partner, dance on the street and don't feel guilty they are missing the fun.