Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our Dragonfly Cafe: Food for the Soul

Artwork among the artists, musicians, storytellers at Dragonfly, 16 January 2013. Matt on guitar (a great musician, a great voice), with Gordon singing; Mike joining him on guitar; Maw telling a story of growing up in Poland, Cheryl (in orange) and others enjoying; Jennifer talking about a spiritual journey; Matt a young boy's adventure in Canada with a plane that took off from a lake, fishing and freedom,. We were all over the map, geographically, spiritually, musically.   
It was Poetry and Acoustic night at Dragonfly, our neighborhood cafĂ© in a lovely old home with a Victorian-like setting, warm and cozy, so I decided to wander over.  It’s been a while, but it was a clear evening, winter cold but refreshing, and “the Fly” sparkles at night.  It’s comforting to know we have such a welcoming place, with  good food and creative camaraderie, right on Main Street in downtown Sylvania. Owner Jennifer Miller Blakeman was in the kitchen, and that in itself is comforting.   

I’m glad I went.  The poets took a night off, it seems, and we were a small group, but we had wonderful music, sing-a-longs, and stories.  Matt Meeker, on guitar, started us off with Crosby, Stills and Nash (some of my favorites including “Southern Cross,” which takes me back to Australia), and some I didn’t know but really liked, like country music artist Alan Jackson’s “Remember When.”  Lovely lyrics (see below). Gordon sang along with Matt a few times, and made lovely harmony, I thought. 

Then it was story time.  Spontaneous. Informal.  Jennifer shared a coming-of-age story about a challenging but sobering spiritual journey that took her from “the Farm,” near Mansfield, Ohio, out west to California, hitchhiking with interesting characters, one from Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, a trip that shaped her life and outlook, her thinking and values. Young Maw (not sure of spelling) shared a story about growing up in Poland, and memories of the Catholic Church and how it wove in and out of her life.   I shared memories of a transitioning Ukraine, struggling to find it’s own identity after becoming independent of the Soviet Union. Matt told a poetic tale of a trip “up North” on the Ottawa river and lakes of Ottawa, Canada near Quebec, when he was fourteen years old, taking off in a little plane that lifted up from a lake and came down on another in some remote forest, where the fishing was also fantastic. Gordon shared his adventures to Russia to meet his fiance’s family in a Ural Mountain village, a meeting of nuclear scientists, and his navigating the ways of a foreign country, not understanding the language.  I understood.  We had traded travel stories, international stories, and growing up stories.  We understood. 

I probably don't have all the details right, but sharing stories and music with kindred spirits provides food for the soul, food for thought, transports us to far-away places. Matt brought us home with some closing music, perfectly rounding out a lyrical evening that couldn't have been better if we had planned it. That's Dragonfly for you!  

 Remember When, by Alan Jackson (
Remember when I was young and so were you
And time stood still and love was all we knew
You were the first, so was I
We made love and 
then you cried

Remember when

Remember when we vowed the vows and walked the walk
Gave our hearts, made the start and it was hard
We lived and learned, life threw curves
There was joy, there was hurt
Remember when

Remember when old ones died and new were born
And life was changed, disassembled, rearranged
We came together, fell apart
And broke each other's hearts
( From: )

Remember when

Remember when the sound of little feet was the music
We danced to week to week
Brought back the love, we found trust
Vowed we'd never give it up
Remember when

Remember when thirty seemed so old
Now lookin' back, it's just a steppin' stone
To where we are, where we've been
Said we'd do it all again
Remember when

Remember when we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won't be sad, we'll be glad
For all the life we've had
And we'll remember when

Remember when
Remember when
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