Learning to Eat, Drink and Bee Merry
by Theresa Reichman
When I was little, my sister — six years my senior — loved the song “No Rain” by Blind Melon. In the music video, a chubby little girl with black framed glasses and freckled cheeks is dressed up like a bumble bee and runs around tap-dancing for people who obviously aren’t quite sure what to make of her.
In the end, she stumbles upon a gate in an open field. She pushes open the gate and unveils a field full of other people dressed like bees and she runs to join their dancing. I was probably only 6 or 7 at the time and I didn’t understand why the video was great. I just knew that it was.
In my life I’ve had a lot of setbacks in the friend department. It started as early as preschool when my parents chose to hold me back an extra year. I watched as the friends I made marched on and a new herd of kids became my peers. After that, I managed to estrange myself from friends a number of ways… two school changes, a bout with radical evangelicalism, the way I dived headfirst into marriage before my friends even had their bags packed for college, then into parenthood, and again when I changed my Christian ways.
And that doesn’t even touch upon all of my personality quirks, which — trust me — are bountiful. When you’re in third grade and try to relate to your classmates by striking up a conversation about the Beatlefest you just attended that weekend, you’re bound to be sorely disappointed. I would know.
I have made a lot of friendships and broke them just as swiftly. I never quite settled.
Nearly two years ago, I was at a bar with my sister-in-law when my eyes landed upon a familiar face: an (ironic) mutual acquaintance of both my husband and I, Charlie. Memories, laughs and numbers were exchanged, and just a few weeks later there was the first of many invitations.
Not only am I convinced that Charlie’s fiancé is my soul buddy (that’s right — soul buddy) but the two of them have introduced us (or in some cases re-introduced us) to some of the most incredible people I’ve ever known.
The first night we all gathered together, a gaggle of bodies poured into Charlie’s solarium. The boys smoked cigars and the girls slung arms around each other with glasses of wine in hand and we all roared an animated rendition of Billy Joel’s “The Piano Man.”
And the merriment hasn’t stopped since. Literally. We have — what we’ve come to call — “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry” nights quite frequently, when we kick off by cooking extravagant meals together. Filet mignon, Snow Crab legs, artichokes dripping with butter, honey glazed salmon and other mouth-watering delicacies. We share in our gluttonous delight. We pretend to be wine connoisseurs. And then, the real magic happens… We put on our proverbial tap shoes and bee costumes and we all dance.
I’ve flung open that gate, and I’ve finally found my bee people. Let’s get our groove on. Sans the field filled with wild flowers… or maybe not.