You see, i had this system finally worked out. Then, the old man screwed it up.
You see, as i noted yesterday when Chet Atkins screwed up my writing plans with his song about his and my father, i think i’ve settled in on a place and a method for finishing my book.
So today, i settled into my garage retreat, cranked up the monster microfiche with intentions to write like hell, like i used to go, on a mission. Then, hell, i put on another LP, 33 1/3 rpm if you will.
This time it was Crystal Gayle, “Classic Crystal” if you want to know. Man, it took me back to one of the worst times of my life, and yes, Charles Dickens, it was also one of the best. My wife decided she didn’t love me and we were en route to a divorce and my having my privilege of being a full-time dad ripped out of my heart. It was as amicable as it could be. She, the mother of my daughter, tried to make it work, but you just don’t do those kinds of things where it works. But then, i still got a lot of time with my daughter and we were a good team. It seemed at six, she almost understood. And this lieutenant commander, the senior Navy Officer on the Texas A&M campus, was much in demand.
And i met some rather incredible women. One, Judy McConnell remains one of my all time favorites. She took me to Lakeside and introduced me to line dancing, the real Texas kind. We cavorted and one day in the summer of 1979 we went to the Crystal Gayle concert in the campus concert hall. So i’m listening to Crystal singing “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” so i lean back in my chair, close my eyes, and remember the bad and the good of those times.
So now i’ve checked two more days of ship’s logs on the monster and compared it to my notes on Yosemite’s Plans of the Day, not a very productive forty-five minutes.
Well, as the end of the record emits the familiar sound of ending, i replace it with “Duke Ellington’s Greatest Hits.” Oh now, i think i’m getting on a roll. Then, the last cut on Side Two is “Satin Doll.” Again, i stop. Oh Lord: Newport, Rhode Island, late 60’s. The place was called Hurley’s, a night club in an alley across from the Tennis Hall of Fame but i located it as across from The Tavern where i met Kathy McMahon (and here i will not tell the tale of how we met the second time). But i spent damn near every Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Hurley’s. Hurley’s was a meeting place on Saturday’s, politically correct speaking. But on Sunday, they had a jam session and almost the entire afternoon was folks jammin’ on “Satin Doll.” i remember Kathy, Andrew Nemethy, Rob Dewitt, Lanny Harer, and Doc Jarden as i listen.
Okay, okay, back to it, i tell myself. i change the record to John Anderson’s “I Just Came Home to Count the Memories.” One of the famous USS Okinawa “Booze Brothers,” JD Waits (i was the other brother Jake; JD was Elwood) introduced me to this one. On side two, is some of the most incredible guitar work on Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” From that moment, i thought of my nephew Tommy Duff and his love of the guitar. Then i thought of how Alan Hicks, Cy Fraser, Jim Hicks, Billy Parsons, Mac Koch and a whole bunch of others who are bluegrass nuts, like me, and i leaned back and listened again.
Now i gotta tell you i haven’t gotten done anywhere near as much as i wanted to get done on my book. But i also realized somewhere around Crystal Gayle’s “You Never Miss a Real Good Thing (Till He Says Goodbye)” i’m about as happy as an old fart could get. i’m sitting in my place, fittingly a corner in the garage with photos and artwork of my past hanging on the wall. i’m listening to music that has been part of me. Yesterday, it was Waylon Jenning’s “I’ve Always Been Crazy (But It’s Kept Me From Going Insane)” and Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind” which i think both sort of define my life.
And i reflect on the best things of the past, again and again.
Maybe this arrangement is not real effective for working on my book, but man, it sure feels good for an old man.
Finally, i put on “The Best of Stan Getz.”
i think i’ll take a nap.