Wednesday, March 21, 2007

this is a town that it's good to get out of once in a while, where you can drive past a thing a thousand times and not see it, and you have to have more children to keep noticing things that otherwise would fly right by. a kid will spot it though, and point it out, and sometimes even try to tell you, with limited words, what they think it might be. like the dragon statue at the park, that corey called "ah-gator".

at the old power plant on the highway i appreciate a long straightaway where the car or truck can get going and stay going, with none of the usual stopsigns or foottraffic of town. so i'll let my eyes wander sometimes off to the trees, the bramble weeds and the train over to the east, the arena parking lot to the west, where i'd spend almost half an hour sometimes walking across the windswept asphalt when i lived on that side of town. not once would i notice the tennis court, or who was in it, and even now when i've been playing a lot, i tend not to see it. the tennis was tough, hard on the back, but noey was into it, and, i hope, still is. it takes a lot of exercise to keep one's cool, in a small town, under pressure.

a small victory at the yellowmoon cafe- a performance, watched by both older boys, with a fair smattering of irish, on st. patty's night; I thought the music was better, and the irish was haunting. the band has its problems but i thought at least Candy and I did them well- the victory came, that the boys saw it, and liked it. i was at least living my own dream, as i had seen my own son do in that same venue earlier. and it wasn't bad.

but i happened to mention, in passing, upon hearing the song life goes on, an old work colleague and friend, mike trepiak, who died of unknown causes in a hotel in vientiane, capital of laos, recently. what struck me about this was that this place was like a dream city to me; french, colonial, remote, jungle, exotic, way way out there, beautiful, etc. he was in a sense living out another dream, one that had for sure at one time gotten under my skin. so, hearing of his death (there but the grace of god go i), i could only look at my busy scene here and say, vaya con dios, you will not be forgotten, such is life, that i hope you got at least a taste of what you really wanted.

but then my partner candy comes out with the story of joshua tree, whom i hear about regularly, working with her: a paraplegic; fell out of a tree and lost the use of his limbs; didn't let it stop him; wrote songs, redesigned such things as lawn mowers so that he could function, way out in the country, and hold up his end of the property. but it so happened that they were going to go camping, so he went and cut the grass one more time, and this time ran out of gas; died of heat stroke trying to get back home. the performance was a tribute to him; several of the songs had been written by him, and one, new one, written for him, by her. impressive. a true southern illinois story, too- as my boys and i would say, a guy who made it, in spite of.

and then, spring busting out, forsythia blazing yellow, a soft white shining through, a couple of nice young mormon guys come 'round the ornament valley, but i wouldn't really get into religion with them. i would admit that family is important; god is important. being with the older boy, home from kansas, in a week that his mom goes bonkers, and siu actually plays kansas in the ncaa. got him to play tennis with noey, and then, driving along that road, forgetting to look over at the courts, but with one glance, i see a huge hawk, on the metal guardrailing of the highway. tall, majestic, watching- he didn't mind the wide expanse of the arena. wasn't bothered by the cars; and, like me, was relaxed by the lack of stopsigns. thing is, he saw everything. maybe he only needed to see the voles and the moles, dinner, but he saw it all. i'm sure of it.

and now, off to seattle, home of the rain forest, the cool & misty coast, the flannel shirt and coffee, salmon & totem poles. it's good, representing an ncaa school on a streak, a school with lots of friends, and i with lots of friends also, and also some stuff to say. but best of all, seeing my daughter, who i'm sure, will give a full report, all in good time.

vaya con out for the ah-gators; don't talk religion until you're ready; don't let the b-rds get you down. a little traveling, and you can get some perspective, get a different view, get a lungful of salt-spray and sticka driftwood in the pocket; skip a stone across toward canada. life might get ya, but more likely, you'll live to see another st. patty's day, so put your luck in your pocket, & get to learning a few more songs. and then, get your soul out there, and try to stay in tune.


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