On Saturday, my friend Long Beautiful Hair turned fifty. Half a century! We celebrated at a country inn, where snow was falling onto pine trees outside and a fire burned in the fireplace inside. There was food, of course, and a band, and all kinds of crazy dancing. And it's good that the room was big because Long Beautiful Family is one of twelve kids.
Even though we’ve been friends for years, this was the first time I met Long Beautiful Hair's huge family. It was a bit disconcerting. The room was filled with women who sounded just like her or had her mannerisms, who danced like her or had her hair. She’s got a distinctive throaty voice that I would recognize anywhere, and it was startling to hear that voice coming from one of her sisters. And the way she shakes back her hair when she talks: her nieces do the same thing.
One time a friend who had the opportunity to be suddenly surrounded by my sisters and nieces said to me, "Really, it was kind of creepy. You all talk the same way, using your hands and swishing your hair." I thought of that Saturday night as I danced with Long Beautiful Hair's sisters and nieces, and watched bits of my friend reflected in their smiles, their laughs, and the way they moved.