A tiny moment of utter glee and joy. Downstairs tonight, working on some birthday presents for Abby, I had Letterman on, and he announced his closing musical act. In passing he said “The Dead”- but I was only listening with one ear as I ripped out a zipper and wrestled a pile of pink gingham.

Then the sweet notes of Sugar Magnolia hit my ears. My head whipped up, and I stared at the screen. Jerry Garcia’s been dead since 1995, and when he left us, I stopped following the Grateful Dead. I knew of side-projects the other members were working on, but life moves on and blah blah blah… So when I whirled around and looked at the tv, there was Bobby Weir singing and playing his guitar. And next to him? That was Phil! Still holding my seam ripper, my heart started to bang, and I strained to see the drummers- Oh my heck, it’s Billy and Mickey!! It’s all of them!

I jumped up and down and squeeled with glee. I’m surprised I didn’t wake up the house. I had forgotten how utterly delightful a live rendition of Sugar Magnolia can be, and tears sprang to my eyes. I danced until my heart was pounding and the song ended.

If you never understood the Dead, or followed the band, or saw them live, I just cannot explain it to you. It’s cliche, but you really did have to be there. It was like seeing old, dear loved ones I hadn’t seen in a decade. It was happiness and joy in it’s simplest form- the joy of music and freedom of dancing- even if I’m just a mama dancing alone in her basement with a pile of pink fabric tangled about my feet.

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