Back in the early 2000’s my boyfriend at the time (Hi, Mike!) and I rented a little white house on Highgrove Street in an area of the Kansas City metro called Grandview, MO. If you’re familiar with Kansas City you might think of Grandview as simply a truck stop town on the outskirts of the city, but if you had ever lived in Grandview you’d know it’s much much weirder than that.
The kitchen at the little white house on highgrove had black and white checkerboard linoleum and the floor was warped in the hallway. I didn’t care. I loved it and made it my own. I filled it with plants and tie dye pillows and more than one Buddha statue. One of my favorite memories from that time in my life took place in the small living room of that house. We had invited a big group of our friends over to hang out on a Saturday night. I lit the thirty some odd candles crowded onto the fireplace mantle, had my Satya Sai Baba Super Hit incense burning and made sure the house was spotless. I may have been a hippie, but I kept a super clean house! The fireplace wasn’t functional, but someone who lived there prior to us had painted a set of logs full of flames on a piece of heavy plywood as a cover and we kept it. My pet chihuahua Lhamo paced anxiously anticipating our guests.
As Mike’s buddies arrived our driveway filled up with VW buses, combined with ours it looked like a used VW lot. My girlfriends showed up too. We probably had fifteen people crowded into our little living room. Soon the grass and wine were flowing and everyone was having a nice time. That’s when I got the idea to pass around instruments, turn on Mike’s Rainbow Gathering VHS tape that he had picked up at an Oregon gathering, and have everyone sing and play along. Not everyone was into this idea, as you can imagine! But I assigned people hand drums, shaker eggs, didgeridoos, my ukulele and anything else I could find. All of us had actually been to at least one Rainbow Gathering before, so playing make believe at my house probably didn’t sound like as much fun but my party guests reluctantly took hold of whatever they were handed and I put the tape in the player. Below is one of the songs from the video for your viewing pleasure and to give you an idea of what I was forcing my friends to participate in!
Great, right? And this was a loooong VHS recording with song after song. After a few minutes our friends just gave in and strummed, rattled or beat whatever instrument they had been assigned and even sang along to the songs. Partly because it was good fun, mostly to appease me, and because deep in each of our hearts we wanted the love and brotherhood that the Rainbow Gathering event represents. We were goofing off, but that night we really were living everything the Rainbow Family stood for. In those few hours I was filled with euphoria and love. It was a great moment in time. A wonderful memory.