Yes, I am very cold right now. Yes, I wish I could be enjoying the perpetually mild climate of Guadalajara. Yes, a Virginia barn dance is worth it all.
This weekend, a couple friends asked if I wanted to go to a barn dance out in Amelia. I had never heard of Amelia and an hour and a half was a long drive, but I am so glad that I decided to go for this outing. The three of us bundled into the car on the very crisp, windy Saturday before Thanksgiving and enjoyed the drive. We passed fields full of hay bales, quite a bit of picket fencing, and dozens of little country churches, rustic barns, and white farm houses.
The wind was chilling, but we walked in and around the silos and barn as the sun was setting. The smells told you this was a working farm, not just for the tourists. Their cows were out in the next pasture over (probably wishing their owner would put them in the barn already). After the sun set and we could not longer enjoy the views of the farm, we went up into the barn loft for dancing. The loft was wide open, with hay bales pushed against the edges for seating, two quilts hanging from the far wall, and a string of white lights going around the ceiling. That was all the decor it needed.
I knew many of the dances already including the Virginia Reel, Trenchmore, Harper Ferry Quick Step, Posties Jig, and the Snowball Reel. Though I only knew the two girls I came with, we had no problem fitting into the warm, inviting crowd of plaid, denim, and cowboy boots. It was nearly impossible to lose the beat as 100 people or more clapped and stomped in rhythm on the wooden planks.This is the kind of event that is so suited to the environment, it would be hard to recreate anywhere else. I’m glad that I was there at the right moment.
Photo by Leanna Branner