It’s funny how things seem to come full circle…
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far, far away, my mother met up with some earth-first friends who owned a store, selling wood burning stoves to the greater Tallahassee area. Their hearts were full of great hopes that we might all start conserving energy and heat our homes with wood all winter. Mama Bear and Mister Elwood bought a wood stove to heat their wee little bungalow on Bristol Court. Then Mama Bear got an earth-first job at the Wood Stove Store.
Then came Sarah.
I lived a good portion of my early years in a play pen in the back room of the Wood Stove Store. I was alone and sad (I don’t know that for sure because I was too little remember it, but I’m going to stick with it for effect) until the store owners had their own little baby. Suddenly, my play pen in the back room was twice as full and I was introduced to “First Best Friend.”
First Best Friend is quirky and creative and wonderful. Even now, I can distinctly remember being a child and admiring her fierce independence. It takes a really extraordinary child to make other children admire their gumption. Kids don’t think about things like that, right? Even as I type this, I’m tearing up with the heaviness of sweet nostalgia. I think that I might go over to see Mama Bear and Mister Elwood tonight. They don’t get sentimental as easily as I do. But maybe they’ll read this blog between now and then, and by the time I get there, they’ll be primed to tell stories and go through old photo albums. If I find any good ones, I’ll post them so that you can have a glimpse of our grand adventures.
…Like the time our dads took us on a Father/Daughter backpacking trip. First Best Friend had been backpacking tons of times before so she knew what was coming. Mister Elwood always took the Macs on family camping vacations, and we had at that point done some pretty primitive camping, but I’m not sure that anything could have really prepare the ‘tweenaged Mac girls for carrying everything they needed on their backs for five days… or for pooping in the woods. My little sister thought that it was the grossest thing ever. In fact, she refused to poop in the woods. And she was determined to hold it until we made it to a real bathroom. And then on the last day during our hike out, when we were maybe one mile from our car, she bowed to the pain and couldn’t hold it anymore. She grabbed a stick and a roll of toilet paper and disappeared into the woods.
We waited…. And waited… And took off our packs and waited some more…. And took off our shoes and waited some more… The story will live forever in Mac Family Lore. If you ever run into my little sister, I’m sure that she would recount every detail for you with no qualms (and maybe even a little pride in her voice).
As we grew, our paths diverged somewhat. First Best Friend went to a liberal arts college where she did her senior thesis on Woody Guthrie. I met Charlie and Claire and mourned the end of the X-Files on Fox. She moved to Montana and was a tour guide at Glacier National Park. I joined a book club and learned to knit. She moved to Seattle and met a sweetheart. I made some cds. She got married. I went to Seattle and sang at her wedding.
At her wedding, I was reintroduced to FBF’s little brother, Man in Overalls. Man in Overalls, who is affectionately referred to as “Mr. Baby” in Mac Family Lore (because his parents couldn’t decide on a name for him… so we all just called him Mr. Baby until he finally got a real name), just so happens to be my little sister’s first best friend. They reconnected as he took her to find some double-sided tape and safety pins after an awkward topless hula hooping incident at the reception (Which interestingly enough did not involve alcohol! You’ll have to ask her about that one, too!). He told her about his dreams to move back to Tallahassee and bring with him this new altruistic home-grown food movement. She told him about my deep love for gardens and growing things, inhibited only by my complete inability to actually make them work. And then months later, after I convinced Housemate to let me dig up half of our backyard, Man in Overalls was by my side to help me make my garden dream a reality.
MiO and FBF also have a niece, Lil’ Katie, who MiO brought to one of the Sarah Mac Band Single Revolution pre-release cupcake and wine parties. That worked out well because I was trying to track her down… In Seattle, she borrowed my lovely green scarf. And then we never saw each other again because she stayed at the reception and camped on the grounds with all of the rest of the celebrators. I, on the other hand, had an early flight the next morning and had to drive back into the city to be closer to the airport.
At the pre-release cupcake and wine party, I traded a cupcake decorated with an owl made out of Oreos for my green scarf and fished for compliments on my new song. But Lil’ Katie, she’s no sucker. Displaying the rare, precious “true-to-self-ness” characteristic of those from the Wood Stove Store clan she won’t tell you it’s great unless she really believes it. And at that point, she was far more interested in her cupcake than listening to my song. However, I happen to know from inside information that she IS a Sarah Mac Band fan. It just so happens that Lil’ Katie is one of the main reasons that the Sarah Mac Band participates in the Florida Earth Day Jam.
The Florida Earth Day Jam grew from a small benefit concert and bake sale with proceeds going towards Katie’s school, Magnolia School into a large multi-staged festival and concurrent environmental exhibition to celebrate Earth Day and support Magnolia School’s “active learning” philosophy.
This Saturday, April 24th
Bradfordville Blues Club, Tallahassee Florida
SMB on the “Air Stage” at 2:30pm
Passes: $20 in advance/ $30 at gate (children 12 and under get in free)
Even if you’re not into the Sarah Mac Band, Dread Clampitt, the Jeff Mosier Trio, King Cotton, the New 76ers, Big Daddy & Red Hot Java, or Trial by Stone among many others, there is still one big reason to come out to the Florida Earth Day Jam… I can almost guarantee that you will find the world to be a better place if you stop by the blanket and lawn chair huddle inhabited by Mama Bear, Mister Elwood, Little Sister and the Wood Stove Store Clan and let yourself be loved on. Maybe if we’re lucky Mama Bear and Mister Elwood’s first best friends, Sven and Della will be there, too! They do have a wood burning stove to heat their house from the Wood Stove Store… and the circle is complete.
Also, just as an update for my dog loving friends… tomorrow is Jasper’s 1st birthday.