On Canada Day, we were part of a piano rodeo.
Friends of ours have pianos on wheels and invited a melange of people to their backyard for a duelling piano concert. We were to come in costume with instruments.
We loaded up the kids in the trailer and biked about 30 minutes down. In full costume!
My lover tucked his long green African dress into his African tie-dyed pants. Making him look like a cucumber that swallowed an inner tube.
I flipped up my sari – long skirts were not made for biking. Lil’T was dressed up as a Native American and C-minor was a fuzzy bunny. They played loudly on their plastic flutes but they weren’t out of tune as the flautist next to them changed key to match them every few seconds.
There were jesters, hippies, cowboys, and crazy hats of all colours. One couple was dressed in red shirts with Canada written on them. Apparently they were invited by the man hired to paint their house and had received no instructions to dress up.
After a rousing concert in a backyard filled with plants, people, babies and dogs, we headed out on our parade. Everyone had an instrument or noise maker and we marched behind the piano-on wheels through the streets until we got to our BBQ destination.
One elderly man went in his scooter decorated with Tibetan prayer flags. As his spunky silver-haired wife went to pull it out of their vehicle, the hostess asked if she needed a few bodies to help get it out. The older woman looked at her, puzzled. “Well, I threw it in there myself, why would I need more people to get it out?”
A little boy about 8 was playing the fiddle. He later took a turn on the piano and a little while later I heard him playing on the accordion.
The music was fantastic! Mostly maritime flavour with some Scottish fluting by a Scottish woman too. Even during the meal, a group gathered with guitars and played and sang nonstop.
As I listened to the conversations around the BBQ, I realized that most of the people there actually were hippies or children of hippies. (I had clues such as the aforementioned silver haired woman saying “When I was a hippy in Amsterdam in the 70s”.) They were joking about politics, wine, gardening and shadow puppet plays.
One couple, dressed as beavers, did an impromptu song and dance on a make-shift stage. Their children, supposed to be back-up singers had disappeared in a game of hide-and-seek.
These were playful social activists- educated, artistic, and silly.
One young woman who was dressed as a cowgirl in the duelling piano showdown, found out my church background. She looked surprised, “I’ve never actually met anyone who grew up in an evangelical church. What was it like?”
It was like a parallel universe.