My mother's boyfriend is quite an accomplished guitar player with a sweet voice. Saul loves to strum and sing any chance he can - before I left the other day he entertained me with a couple songs.
After he retired as a school teacher Saul played for all the assisted living facilities in Prescott and neighboring counties; I think he did a couple gigs a week for some 20 years.
It sometimes entailed a bit of travel and even motel stays but he never asked for a penny - it was his way of satisfying his need to perform and do the community a nice service.
When he met my mother she immediately began going with him - providing harmony, percussion and companionship.
Well, as a result of his health problems the last couple of years and my mother's recent scare he put down his guitar in January.
I'm not clear if it's temporary or permanent but they are still calling him to come back for more. I think the lure of the applause and the fullness of heart he gets from the civic duty will get him back out there.
So. I never ever remember my dreams. Seriously, not ever.
Last night I awoke in the middle of the night from a dream I really wanted to remember and I knew I had a couple seconds to write it down before it was gone forever.
In the dream I saw my father and little sister (both no longer with us) standing together in the distance. It was them from when I was a kid - so dad and sis from olden times.
The standout was their hair - my dad with his shaggy mess and exaggerated sideburns and my sister with her long feathered locks. Now that I think about it 1978 visited me last night.
Anyway, I kept trying to catch up to them but I never could - the distance between us always remained the same - which was making me crazy. It was a cruel trick of dreamland that caused me to toss and turn vigorously.
Even more cruel is that they even saw me and waved with big smiles. They seemed content that I never reached them - like they were just stopping by to say 'hi' to me. Of course I am ignoring the 'see you soon' interpretation of the dream.
I longed to talk to them. Hug them. Share in their adventure. But the feeling of frustration over not ever reaching them woke me up before the dream reached its conclusion.
In the end it was sooooo nice to see them again and I was thrilled that they looked really happy. And at peace.
I sure hope I run into them in my dreams again soon. And remember it.
About the photo: Just some random graffiti I saw a couple weeks ago.
I have this client that always seems to overpay. Several times since our relationship began I have had to pop him a message alerting him to this monetary mistake. His reply is usually along these lines, "I'd rather be over than under."
The other day he did it again to which I texted a friend saying that if I wasn't an honest guy I could totally be ripping this guy off.
The reply to that was, "That's not you."
Well, there was an episode from way back in olden times...
Rewind to an 9 year-old Chuck. For a couple of years my family bounced around the South. From Muscle Sholes to Raleigh - then on to Charleston, North Augusta and our final stop before heading back to California was Atlanta.
During our 6 month stint in Atlanta my older brother and I shared a paper route. And since this was the mid-70's we were also in charge of collecting payments in person. If memory serves it was $8 or so.
Well, there was this one woman who was pretty ditzy and always wrapped in a post-shower towel. Every time we knocked at her door for collection she was always in a hurry (looking back I'm thinking she was a woman of many gentleman callers) and never had time to fuss about a receipt.
Eventually a scheme was hatched... As I'm sure you just figured out.
My brother and I went to her place to collect a week later. It didn't phase her. She paid, struggling to keep her towel from popping off. Then about 10 days later we went again. She handed us more money. She didn't have a clue. So we tried it again after another 10 days. This time she actually said, "I feel like you guys are here every week."
I froze-up with guilt and simply shrugged. I took her money of course but the comment was enough to scare us back on the path of decency. Which I have rarely strayed from since...
But hey, my cut of the heist that afternoon paid for a bunch of Zotz and Wacky Packages.
I flew out to Phoenix February 3, 2004 to prepare for the loss of my little sister as did the rest of my family. Nancy hung on for 10 more days before leaving our family on Valentine's Day. The process was brutal and mind-numbing.
This might sound awful but I just couldn't wait to get back home. I needed my bed. I needed my friends. I needed a drink. I needed to cry privately. I needed LA. I needed to do nothing. I needed to do something else.
About 20 minutes after she passed I called Southwest Airline's and booked my ticket home for later that afternoon. Then I called my friend Edwin for a pickup and ride home. He didn't answer and as I was leaving him a message my voice broke and I hung up. I think I managed, "Hey, she just passed and I um..."
It wasn't long before he returned the call and we sorted out the details of my arrival at Burbank Airport. Sure enough he was waiting curbside and after a warm and generous hug he asked, "So, what do you need? Home? Or do you need to get drunk?"
I replied, "Drunk please."
Well, it was a Saturday night. And I was really happy Edwin wasn't going to leave me alone that night.
We ended up at my usual watering hole and over our first beer Edwin and the bartender were bitching about how dumb Valentine's Day is as I remained silent - still frightfully numb from the events of the day.
Finally the bartender asked me, "What about you? How do you feel about Valentine's Day?"
He knew my sister was ill already so I said, "I watched my sister die today."
He cooed, "Oh honey, I'm so sorry. Let me help you out."
And he did. One shot after another. Until I went from one kind of numb to another. With one of my best friend's keeping up at my side.
In February it will be 9 years since my family portrait was forever changed with the untimely passing of my sister owing to breast cancer.
Today is Nancy's birthday and every year I like share a memory to honor her special day. Usually they are on the 'grab-a-tissue' side but not this time as I reach back to our teenage years.
My little sister was probably the first person to accept my lifestyle. You see, we were less than a year apart so in essence she grew up with it as 'natural' nearly as much as I did - how could she not?
I mean, we moved around a lot and often it was just the two of us left to entertain one another. Until high school when we went our separate ways. The drama department was my calling and it kept me pretty busy and she had her things - which don't spring to mind at the moment.
In my senior year the spring musical was a great show called, Pippin. I didn't get a proper role but the show has a lot of dialog spoken by the chorus members and I was favored with many of these lines and by extension kind of created my own character. And it was a stand-out, of course.
Anyway, there is a scene in which I refused to give Pippin his sword to go into battle to which he insists, "But I'm Pippin, one day I'll be king." I hand over the weapon with a catty retort, "And one day I'll be queen."
During the three-week run it got a lot of laughs. Sometimes even applause. People got the implied foreshadowing with which I laced my voice. I looked forward to that scene each night - it felt liberating.
The night my sister was in attendance there was a little commotion after my confessional thespian moment. Later that night when I got home I asked her about it she replied, "I was sitting next to some jerk who said to his friend that you were already a queen." She paused and then continued proudly, "So I slugged him."
I'm not sure why this is memory that came to mind to share with you today. Probably because I didn't appreciate her gesture enough at the time and I need to know if is it too late to thank her for it now?