Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Only the shoes remain: or A way to stay alive


"So Lonesome I Could Cry"
Pat, Bob and Alex

By morning, only the shoes remain.

Last night, during  premarital counseling for Lindsey and Brett, we were talking about the promises we make when we get married. The power of living together in trust. Knowing someone will always have your back. And I almost started to cry. You have to be to be so careful. Never take anything for granted. Pay attention all the time. If you can make it, it's wonderful. But it's so fragile, so vulnerable. Beautiful but breakable. Takes intention. And even more so grace. And sometimes the account gets overdrawn. And even closed. God bless them. And grant them intention and grace.

Rudolfo comes in and is very happy. He has received a visa and is returning to Cuba. We’ll leave aside the fact that some of our Latinos say that his accent is Puerto Rican, not Cuban. After 30 plus years here, who knows? By now, he could sound Dominican. I try to imagine the scene at the Cuban embassy. Let’s get this straight, dude, you want to go back to Cuba? Seriously? Do we have procedures for this? Dude, seriously? Rudolfo has his ticket for Havana and is happy.

Jeremy has checked out the piano. Seems it’s sharp. 442 instead of 440. I pretend like I might actually understand what that means. But it will do for his recording.

All but a slice of a kosher pizza from Cafe Roma has been left on the steps.

Danielle is working with her young friend, Daisy, helping her navigate English.

I go to Riverside Church for  a book event we re co-sponsoring, Our Harsh Logic, testimonies  from Israeli IDF veterans' group Breaking the Silence. Remembering their service on the West-Bank. One of the slides in the presentation is graffiti reading Arabs to the gas chamber.  One questioner wants the woman IDF veteran organizer to say  that what the Israeli are doing is like the Nazis. The young pregnant officer balks. No, I am a  history student. A history freak. Not the same. Not the same. each tragedy has its own dimensions.

But the questioner won’t give up. I wonder, why? You’ve got a woman veteran who has collected testimonies of what was done on The West Bank.  They are here to build support for  the occupation. Why do you demand they confess to being Nazis? That is the crazy that sometimes leads me to to despair of liberals all together.

I arrive at Open Mic late. But in time to hear Joel’s improvised monologue. Somewhere between  square dance calling and rap, according  to RL. And I know I'm on edge when I almost break down during Pat's song about his divorce.  Yes, I m on edge.  As for myself,  I only do one original. Then, I do Libby Cotton’s Sugaree, inspired by Danny Kalb's version...everything I had is done and gone...and then finish with Hank William’s So Lonesome I Could Cry...I’m crawling inside that song. Working each word, feeling the vibratos. Irish Pat playing guitar and Alex on fiddle. Singing Hank. A way to stay alive. 

Alex 2, the new bartender,a friend of Glen, from Alabama, says, I never figured anyone up here would get Hank. 
I lived ten years in Tulsa, I say. 
Ah, OK, I get it, he says.

Dion has shown up late. Does his comedy set. He’s almost ready to be there if he can own his innocence and allow his persona to just be with confidence. 

And of course we finish with Stay awhile... and RL.

Yes. A way to stay alive. 

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