This sacred occasion has long been foreshadowed by posters hung in community centers and half-page ads in the local newspaper, but now as lawn chairs are erected and cheese plates brought forth from picnic baskets, it is clear that the blessed hour is upon us at last: The Fleetwood Mac cover band has arrived in town for its annual show, and now it is time for Mom to get completely wasted off two Coronitas and start grinding.
Huzzah! The swaying High Priestess has arrived at the public park in her Toyota Sienna, and now the tipsy revelry shall commence!
Adorned in her ceremonial garb of a strangely baggy pink Nordstrom Rack blouse, white jeans, monogrammed Vera Bradley bag, and a jangly assortment of chunky beaded jewelry, Mom lays her blanket down on a patch of grass that, per ancient concert-on-the-lawn decree, is not so close to the stage that the speakers hurt her ears but not so far back that she must don her prescription sunglasses to see the performance. She then patiently waits and sips upon her Coronita until the band, Macwood Fleet, arrives onstage at 6 p.m. sharp and inaugurates the festivities with a spirited rendition of “The Chain,” the familiar opening chords of which compel Mom to put her beverage down and begin clapping her hands over her head in her traditional almost-on-beat fashion.
She is in her element. She is feeling it.
As the evening progresses, she sips again and again on her Coronita, finishing her first bottle in a record 45 minutes, leaving her somehow incredibly drunk. Then, as she opens her second Coronita, the gods shine their favor upon her and the band launches into her absolute favorite Fleetwood Mac song, “Go Your Own Way.” Delirious from drink and three-part rock ’n’ roll harmonies, she attempts to summon Dad from his lawn chair to join her in dance, but he prefers to stay seated in his lawn chair reading a Tom Clancy novel. Undeterred by his refusal, she then throws back several more ounces of Coronita and proceeds to perform a G-rated lap dance for him, writhing blissfully against his knee caps while he remains rigid and joyless, inwardly yearning to be home watching Shark Tank reruns on CNBC. He, however, knows that this is an occasion of great importance for Mom, and so he forces a smile and nods in agreement when his bride, now profoundly inebriated, breathily yell-whispers in his ear that the lead singer “sounds more like Stevie Nicks than Stevie Nicks”—a sentiment she will repeat six more times throughout the night.
And lo, as the sky now pinkens and the band enters the stretch of Rumours tracks that customarily closes out the set, drunken Mom suddenly becomes very emotional about the terrible velocity of time and how her babies are no longer babies, and she feels a very urgent need to be near her babies and to hold them. She then beelines straight for her youngest son and engages him in the hallowed rite of passage that all of her offspring must at some time in their lives endure: the uncomfortable slow dance to “Landslide” that you are exactly one year too old for. Mom is in rare form tonight, and she sings the line about being “afraid of changing” with audible sadness, pulling her 12-year-old close so that she may smell his hair—the sweet-smelling hair of her sweet baby boy who was once inside her but now, in his pubescence, has eclipsed her in both height and mass and who, she fears, may be too old and self-conscious to let her smell his hair in public by the time Macwood Fleet comes around next year. A single tear rolls down her cheek.
“Landslide” ends, but not the night. No, as has been ordained since the beginning of time, the night cannot truly end until Mom hears “Rhiannon,” which, right on cue, the band now begins playing. Mom closes her eyes, cracks a fresh Coronita, sashays to the center of the park, and gives the assembled masses the purest art she can give: that one dance where her right arm is extended out in front of her and her left arm hangs down by her side for some reason. She dances this dance with all the besotted passion she can muster until Dad trudges over and informs her that they need to leave before the encore so they can beat traffic. And, finally, the night comes to an end.
Incredible. Another year comes and goes, and Mom and her Coronitas and Fleetwood Mac cover band have once again worked their impossible magic. Let the countdown to next year begin!