Monday, January 8, 2018

Three Beautiful Things 01/07/18: Power in Music and Art, Christy's Perfect Birthday Dinner, Long Hot Shower

1. After the Deke and I listened to two episodes of The Big Listen podcast and listened to one episode of Uncivil, the Deke went uptown to knit with friends at Radio Brewing. I seized the upon the couple of hours alone to once again return to the music of Richard and Linda Thompson. I played the entire album, Shoot Out the Lights, and once again marveled at how perfectly Richard Thompson's songwriting, Linda Thompson's longing and guileless vocals, and Richard Thompson's moody, often jangling and discordant electric guitar combine to explore the disillusion of brokenness when love and intimacy and togetherness disintegrate. I then turned my attention to their album, Hokey Pokey. It is one of the darkest albums of songs I've ever owned, written in the tradition of old British folk songs, and, once again, its heart wrenching to listen to Linda and Richard Thompson give voice to the world's harshness, but, at times exhilarating to experience how perfectly these songs are made, both instrumentally and vocally.

Saturday, I found a recording of the production of Sunday in the Park with George that the Deke and I saw and loved at the Hudson Theater in April, 2017. I didn't listen to the entire musical this afternoon, but I started with the song "Sunday" which ends Act I and listened to the entirety of Act II. I retrieved the lyrics to "Sunday" online and read them while listening.

It got emotional for me. I loved that afternoon at the theater. I love this song about the permanence of art, how the painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" endures, giving eternal life to a Sunday in a perfect park, even as those figures in the painting who lived this moment experienced it as fleeting in the same way their lives are impermanent in the same way our Saturday afternoon in the Hudson Theater experiencing live theater was fleeting -- poof! -- gone. The painting, though, is forever.

2. Christy's birthday is on Tuesday, but at tonight's family dinner, we celebrated her birthday. Christy requested a wonderful dinner: Old Fashioneds for cocktails followed by a Caesar salad and a meal of roasted chicken, rice  pilaf, and green beans. For dessert, Christy asked for a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Carol took two days to prepare this meal and told us she had a blast doing it. With Christy's assistance, Carol recently unearthed her copy of Julia Child's' book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and committed herself, as much as possible, to prepare this entire meal following Julia Child's directions. 

Talk about wishing life were not a series of fleeting moments. I didn't want this dinner to end.  Everything was perfect. Carol wrote a detailed account of her two days of cooking, here, if you'd like to know what went into this meal and what Carol did in the kitchen to bring it to life. I'll just say two words: butter and eggs.

3. Before dinner and before the Deke returned from knitting, I took a long hot shower and thought a lot about the difficulties Mom endured in her last few months of life. I was happy that Christy, Carol, Paul, Zoe, the Deke, and others did all we could to make those last months easier and free of loneliness. All the same, I kept reliving how unfair it was that her legs gave out, that she was immobile, and I longed for that to have been different for her. It was all so confusing for Mom. So much of what she'd known in her life gradually disappeared and I ached for her, for how unjust it all was, and sought comfort in the hot water pounding on the top of my back and over my head.

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