This past weekend, I went to a crawfish boil put on by good friends from Louisiana who understand the power of community in connection with amazing food. It’s an event that I look forward to every year, because there is nothing like it on this planet! Here’s why it’s so flipping fantastic.
The annual crawfish boil has become a full-fledged holiday. It has all the ingredients for a proper yearly celebration: food so good it’s likely to make you cry; homemade beer; scores of local musicians playing impromptu sets throughout the day; backyard games; folks who are happy to share a fifth of whiskey with whoever would like to partake; friends, new and old; and palpable, positive energy in the air. It’s a party, people.
It’s become a way to mark time. At my first crawfish boil a few years ago, I was crushing hard on my boyfriend, but we weren’t technically dating. Next week, we move in together and start the next chapter of our lives under one roof. Jonny Church Band was an idea passed around at previous crawfish boils. This past weekend, we played an impromptu set in the shade of some trees, a fully-realized group that’s opened for country star Jimmy Wayne. And there were babies everywhere this year! Couples have grown into families and we celebrate it with fun, food, and friendship. I can’t wait to see what’s changed and progressed a year from now.
I made at least six new connections this weekend. I can’t necessarily recite names back, even though we were wearing nametags. I’ll blame that on whiskey brain. But I did readily introduce myself to strangers at the boil, strangers who genuinely wanted to talk to me and build camaraderie. It was community building. I feel like life is so full of technology and missed connections anymore. It was nice to talk face-to-face, to be social, and to meet genuinely good people.
Sometimes, you need an event like this to slow down and realize that life is beautiful. The past few weeks have been some of the most stressful of my life. I’ve been negotiating the sale of a house. I’ve been packing and signing leases for a new place. I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to combine my life with someone else’s. Add my 9-to-5 onto that and financial stress…Yeah…But Saturday, I let go of everything that’s been hanging heavy over me. I sang with friends. I ate Boudin sausage and homemade beignets. I enjoyed the perfect Arizona weather. It was honestly one of the best days I’ve had in awhile, and it reminded me that, in actuality, I have it pretty good.
I got to hang with my people. Musicians are an interesting bunch. And I love them. I love being around them. Being surrounded by other artists feeds my soul creatively, spiritually, and emotionally. I mean, how can you not be happy and inspired with guitars, washboards, spoons, keyboards, and saxophones floating around all day?
The initial batch of crawfish was dropped into the boiler as musicians played “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Our second round of food was accompanied by Wut singing the blues. Late into the night, random musicians who’d never played together before combined for an epic jam session. There was a soundtrack for the entire day and it was magical.
Have I mentioned the food? Crawfish flown in from Louisiana, Boudin sausage, corn, potatoes, onions, garlic, French bread, cornbread muffins, mushrooms, homemade beignets, chicory coffee. I mean, seriously.
Yeah, you better believe I already have my calendar marked for next year. Wouldn’t you?