I live a quiet life, and I like it. However, into every quiet life a little noise must come, and I like that too. The annual Ranch Party brought some welcome noise to this homestead, along with happy faces of dear friends too seldom seen, kegs of local ales, belly-flops, original tunes, spicy sausages, spirit animals, decorated tents, puppet shows, cocktails served in mason jars, two gorillas and a bigfoot, latenight grilled cheese, movies on the lawn, and an actual choreographed dance routine.  A spontaneous cornucopia of melons, garden tomatoes, peppers of all sorts, squash, lemons, and limes sprouted on the kitchen counter, a mountain of manna communally added to and taken from over the course of the weekend.  There was a professional tea and coffee service set up under a canopy each morning, complete with lessons on how to appreciate one’s tea leaves.  Guitars and amps and mics and cords from various owners were expertly set up and, after everyone had a chance to perform on the twinkly Hootenanny stage, were quickly and efficiently put away again. We ate like royalty and partied like it was 1999.

And then it was over. It felt like a heartbeat and a lifetime all at once.  A few beers floating in warm dirty water, dusty feet, packing up the tents, waiving goodbye, trips to the airport, mopping floors, taking down lights. Sitting in quiet.

I take it as a good sign that this party has grown from a simple weekend shindig to a Thursday through Monday extravaganza.  Once upon a time these people didn’t know each other, and now we’re all family, witnessing graduations, weddings, births, new careers, first homes, milestone birthdays, and the hard stuff along the way.  We love each other.  Enough to make the world a better place.  I say this without irony or smugness: with all the violence and hatred and backwardness out there, sometimes there’s only one thing you can do to restore your faith in humanity.

Throw a party.

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