Editorial: Rain dance

Rappahannock students and teachers helped serve appetizers and a meal for more than 300 at the Taste of Rappahannock. Photo by Molly M. Peterson.

Sunday, after midnight but before dawn, the rain came. Finally. Not nearly enough, of course, but certainly better than nothing.
Answered prayers. Or — as Rappahannock County’s pre-European-contact inhabitants might have had it centuries earlier — the natural, inevitable outcome of ritualized, communal ceremonies, like perhaps a rain dance.

And, indeed, on Saturday evening, just hours before the rain would come, current Rappahannock County inhabitants and their guests got together not for a rain dance per se but for an annual, ritualized celebration of some of the best that the land and its people have to offer.

Normally, many of these people would seldom see each other, all going their separate ways. But because of the nature of the ceremony, everybody came together in common cause, creating sometimes strange bedfellows: Farmers, both hardscrabble and hobby; old-time native sons/daughters and brand-new weekenders; fast-talking, blunt-spoken Yankees and slow-moving, soft-spoken Southerners; tea-partiers and back-to-the-land anarchists; teenagers and senior citizens. Given the theme of the festivities, rather than “strange bedfellows,” “odd pairings” might be a more appropriate description.

For it was the 13th annual “Taste of Rappahannock.” It was held this year at Belle Meade School and expertly overseen by Toni Egger, executive director of Headwaters — the foundation which puts on the Taste event to raise funds for underwriting its enrichment programs offered to Rappahannock County students throughout the year.

These programs include Farm-to-Table, Starfish Mentoring and Next Step, and funds are needed to develop still more programs. “Rappahannock County has a new school administration with new ideas and programs they will want to launch. We want to be ready and able to help,” says Egger.

Yes, a symbolic rain dance is not a bad metaphor, for the annual “Taste of Rappahannock” both celebrates and makes things grow, sowing seeds for the future.

Walter Nicklin,