Thursday, March 15, 2007

a thick fog has settled over the ornament valley; they gave up and turned all the traffic lights on 13 to flashing yellow because there just wasn't enough traffic to justify making people wait a long time at each one of them. got my clinch mountain sweethearts cd back from candy; we'll playing some of those pure bluegrass songs this saturday night, st. pat's, in cobden's yellowmoon cafe. i dredged up a few old irish songs too, one called paddy's lament or paddy's lamentation, an anti-civil war song, about coming to the us, being conscripted, and wishing one was back in fair dublin starving in the potato famine. i found a good bluegrass radio station here on the computer and can now do this weblog with good background. one of the things that is important to me is to bring back these parts of my past, the scrawled out words of songs that reached me at one time or another, and get them into active circulation so that they are coming out on a stage at some time and place. some of these songs bring up memories of various times that they used to dominate my life, in the same way these days i'm often listening to welele or the saints. i used to write music quite a bit, sometimes songs and sometimes just words, and had a pretty good poster for my performances, with a border of the state of iowa, a world turned into a banjo, and maybe a fiddle on it, i don't remember exactly. they coulda called me "iowa tom", but, i was in iowa at the time, so that wasn't much special, and they went with "ramblin' tom" which did fine for a number of years, and is worth recalling in and of itself.

nowadays i've been working hard on presentations at tesol in seattle, which are slowly taking shape, but draining me of a lot of good energy and robbing my break. that's why it's important that i get out a little, play some music, make an appearance out there in cobden, home of the appleknockers. now there's a town with a single railroad track through the center of it. it's about 1/3 hispanic these days, but more than 1/3 empty, and it's the people who's left who may or may not choose to come into a fern bar like the yellowmoon on a st. patty's day eve. A fair number of them would rather be at the hard-drinking country bar right next door, i think, no matter what the occasion.

the countryside around there gets pretty, lots of old houses, hills, shawnee woods; we almost moved out there a while back, but that was before corey came along. i sometimes look at that country lifestyle, look again at the suburban spread here in the ornament valley, and get wistful, but nights like tonight there's a thick fog, and it doesn't make that much of a difference...after all, a small town is just a rock-pitch from the country no matter what part of town you're in, there isn't much to block the stars except maybe a few of the floodlights at the university. which reminds me, lately i've been playing a bit of tennis with the 14-yr.-old, trying to bring his arm back to strong- makes me sore at night, makes him sleep early & leave the computer to me, and gives us a new perspective on traffic, floodlights, and the athletic neighborhood of town. on top of all that it started raining today while we were batting the balls around, but we hung in there, got a good practice in, and made me feel like shaking out some of that stress on the fiddle, later on. tennis and fiddle, and in between, flashing yellow lights on a foggy state highway, with orange cones, a bump and a big "bump" sign, by the creek that rises up where i refused to buy the house, 'cause i didn't want to be trapped between that creek and the old m'boro highway, watching the water rise on the cello, the fiddle & an old foundation. these hundred-year floods have been coming more often, and all you can do is get some high ground, and get some good fiddlin' in, before global warming takes us all down.

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