For the last four decades, the folks at Indigo Bunting Lane Farm – Paul Gurewitz, Gary Gumz, Laurie Pedersen and Soren Gurewitz – have hosted an annual 4th of July party. Always held on the Saturday closest to the 4th, the party is the ultimate celebration of community. Paul kneads 100 pounds of pizza dough, makes sauce for 300 people and provides a wood-fired oven. Party-goers bring the toppings of their choice. Volleyball and horseshoes, walks to the river, live music for dancing, as much visiting as you can stand and fireworks always make for a truly exceptional day.
I haven’t missed many of these parties over the years. I remember the first of them in 1975. For me, it’s a time to see old friends, and meet their grandchildren, and reacquaint with folks I only see at the party.
As I age, I see more and more people I don’t know. People new to the community, or from Asheville, and some from farther away. Many young couples are there with children and I love the inter-generational sense of it all. I wonder how all these new folks make it to the party. What brings them to this hard-to-find ninety acres, set deep in the mountains? What brings them back year after year and causes some of them to stay forever?
I think about this a lot. I believe it has to do with the expansiveness of the day – the joining of disparate, yet kindred people –if only for a day, and the feeling that all is well. But also, the party offers a symbolism that speaks to our wider community. The knowledge we live in a special place – a fabric of many threads, made stronger by the singular nature of our strings.
For Paul, on his sixty-fifth Birthday on Thursday. Thank you for years of friendship and for just being you.