Sunday, November 1, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 10-31-20: Music Now and Then, Porch Light Off, Evening Cocktails

1. As I listened to the Jerry Garcia and David Grisman's album, Been All Around this World, and enjoyed them playing songs like "Dark as a Dungeon", "I'm Troubled", and "Sittin' Here in Limbo", a variety of songs ranging from traditionals to Bob Dylan to George Jones to James Brown, somehow David Grisman's soaring mandolin licks transported me back to Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene. It was November, 1999. I'd been unconscious for a couple or three days, under the siege of an aggressive case of bacterial meningitis. As I began to recover, Debbie brought a CD player to my hospital room and two recordings brought me deep pleasure in the midst of my illness: The Oysterband's album, made with June Tabor, Freedom and Rain and a collaboration between Peter Rowan and Jerry Douglas, Yonder.

The Grisman and Garcia album triggered a longing in me to listen to Yonder. Thanks to a big giveaway of CDs back in 2014 when we we moved to Maryland, I don't think I have the CD any longer. I tried to find a  way to stream the album, but I wasn't successful (I also lost patience -- I'll try again later). 

So, I created a Peter Rowan and Jerry Douglas Pandora station and suddenly the living room was filled with the bluegrass sounds of Alison Kraus and Union Station (including Jerry Douglas on dobro), a song or two from Yonder, a splendid cover of "Runnin' Down a Dream" by Tony Furtado, racehorse guitar playing by Ricky Skaggs, Tim O'Brien covering Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain", and other tunes by musicians unfamiliar to me. 

I thought about a cold Sunday evening in Eugene around 1989, going to a small performance space in the downtown branch of Smith Family Books, and hearing Laurie Lewis. Tony Furtado was her banjo player that evening. I suddenly wished I had my Laurie Lewis albums again and went on the World Wide Web and reminded myself what they were: Love Chooses YouSingin' My Troubles Away, and Blue Rose.

I decided to take one more trip to the past. 

Back in Maryland, Debbie and I were regulars at the Old Line Bistro in Beltsville. Frequently, the mix of songs they played as house music included Mumford and Sons featuring Jerry Douglas, performing Paul Simon's song, "The Boxer". I loved how, for me, when that song came on, time stopped. It was as if all the chatter at the bar and at the tables stopped and as Mumford and Sons burrowed deeper into "The Boxer", I began to anticipate the two solo passages by Jerry Douglas on the dobro. When they came, they soared overhead in the bar and I could barely contain my joy and the way his playing moved me. I don't want to go to this well of feeling too often. Tonight, I did, though. I played this version of "The Boxer" three or four times, soared with Jerry Douglas, felt the depth of the song's beauty, and relived my love for those three Maryland years and especially the Old Line Bistro -- which, by the way, the owners sold -- the last day of its existence, as Debbie and I knew it, was June 1. 

2. I continue to persist in the idea that the most rational thing for me to do is lie low and be as protective as possible of my health and protective of anyone I am around. Tonight, I turned out the porch light and did not hand out Halloween candy. Next door neighbor Jane did hand out candy. Christy visited her during the trick or treat hour and at least thirty kids came to her door. I left the living room dark and put a light on in the back part of the kitchen and filled the hour cleaning the kitchen and doing other household tasks.

3.  I invited Christy, Carol, and Paul over to the house for cocktails and they arrived around 8:30. Everett wasn't able to join us. We had a lot to talk about. We'd all had busy days of one sort or another, and it was comforting to relax together, enjoy some adult beverages, and talk about what's happening in our families and what things look like for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. 

You might remember that a while back Stu took a hiatus from posting limericks.

He's decided to take another. 

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