Thursday, July 12, 2012

was listening to the band at the sunset concert tonight, a kind of easy-going, harmonic band, with a fellow musician who also cares about the quality of the music. much of carbondale is hanging around, making barbecues, drinking beer, doing hula hoops, not too worried about the quality. actually there are two aspects, really, whether it is a kind of music you can tolerate, and then, whether it is in tune and there is a beat, that kind of stuff. in this case they were ok in the latter, and fair-to-middlin' in the first part. but that's ok, you can't win them all, out of eight concerts, you're lucky to get a few good ones in any given year.

seven, someone said, this year there are only seven. numbers one and two were terrible; three, it was a hundred and five in the shade and we went somewhere else that had air conditioning. four was actually pretty good; it was new-orleans style ragtime, and it was maybe a hundred and one or two, but that was ok in this particular situation, and the band didn't seem to mind. the fourth was, over all, the best so far, musically, but, as i told my friend, you can't win them all, the best you can do is come to each one with an open mind, so that if it happens to be good, which it is once in a while, you'll know it, and not be so severely prejudiced that you don't even hear it.

this one was notable in that i had four sons there, and one had a friend with him, at least one, so that really it was a large family, though my wife wasn't there, and as we were leaving i thought, i may not have all four together very much, after we go to texas, by the grace of god i have four together at all, things going the way they are, god's grace hanging in the air, in a harmonic cold-play song, drunken students singing along, i and the older boys walking away as the sun goes down over the campus i've worked at for what, maybe eighteen years. i meet people there and tell them, saying goodbye to them if possible, giving reasons for going down to the heart of west texas with family either following or not, depending on the way the wind is blowing. this is such a darn small town, not much opportunity, not much in the way of jobs, a hot steamy pressure-cooker, no-count, yet that's what they have, that's what there is, come thursday night in the summer, that's what we do, and then we have some ice cream.

sometimes i'm thinking, we could do better than this band, and play in tune better, so why don't we. but other times i'm thinking, yeah, that's true in normal weather, but maybe we couldn't play better when it's over a hundred and stays there, and you still have to get out all that equipment.

the kids played kickball in the little courtyard where the old castle building has its antique windows. a guy in a black shirt tried to get them to keep the ball down to where it wouldn't knock out a window. last year they put one up on the roof, it's probably still there, that's the way these small towns are. it's hot, the kids are sweaty, the dogs bark when we get home, we have ice cream and pretty much go to bed. we're lucky - the ball hits only the brick, not the windows. we cross the highway without incident. the older boys - they've had their issues, but they're here, they're with us, they're ok. one problem is, the town's so small, we don't know much, they have nothing to compare it to. they have us, and i'm barking at everyone, by god it's been a long summer already, 's not even half over. 's getting dark, time to get out & get home before the evening turns.

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