My mothers’ philosophy of life included this admonition… when in doubt, party. It didn’t matter how hard times were, you had to find a way to celebrate life. She knew about hard times having survived the Holocaust but to party even during our trials is how we remember that we are still human.
In these last couple of weeks, I’ve not been partying much…Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination and has escalated his divisive rhetoric; 54 people murdered in a gay nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history; and the British have exited the European Union. Our divisions, separation, and seething anger, are manifesting confrontations all over the world. People are feeling powerless and frustrated at unresponsive institutions and individuals are demanding change. I’m one of them; I’m angry, resentful, and sickened by our inability to live peacefully in community.
I haven’t felt much like partying until my friend Jack’s wedding last week in which I was invited to participate. The wedding took place on the summer solstice on a full moon in Jerome, Arizona; at the turn of the 20th century it was a thriving copper mining town, precariously perched on a steep hillside, it is now a tourist town with a hippie, artsy vibe. Since the 60’s Jerome has been a unique Arizona town that’s tolerant of eccentricity.
Jack, has been a friend for over 40 years, we began our careers in Arizona together here in the early 70’s. A dentist by professional training, he organized the first student dental association, became an internationally recognized public health professional, and is now the Dean of an innovative dental school. The wedding ceremony was performed in the garden of the historic Surgeon’s House. Jack and his lovely bride Jami were radiant as they entered to the accompaniment of a classical quartet. The atmosphere was loving and intense; no boundaries between families and friends, only love.
Afterwards we partied and danced to the music of the Jerome Ukulele Orchestra. This funky band actually got through two rounds in the America’s Got Talent competition, and were an absolute riot. Playing “golden oldies”, people danced and I got up to sing with them when they played Bob Marley… Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Feeling the music, remembering those times and the hopes, I heard my mother’s voice and smiled…when in doubt, party.