Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Music Man

I always said that if I invented a time machine, I’d use it to do something useful, like go back 30 years and invest in Apple Computer, or try and prevent something awful, like the invention of the cell phone or the leaf blower. I did go back in time recently, but instead of wealth or satisfaction, I got irony.
You see, my grandson is a musician.
A drummer, in fact.
In a heavy metal band.
Now, I’m an ardent supporter of any kind of live music, even though metal probably isn’t what I’d choose for an afternoon tea or the soundtrack for my own funeral. But it’s pretty loud stuff, even radiating all the way from the garage, through the walls and up the stairs into the second floor living room of my son and daughter-in-law’s home, where we were supervising grandchildren and wondering if we might need either a hearing check or head examination soon. But as a musician myself, I’m determined to support any attempt to make music, no matter how earth and ear shattering it might be.
She: That’s kinda loud, isn’t it?
Me: What’d you say?
I have a lengthy background in quite a few kinds of popular music. It’s a part-time “career” that began back when I was a young teenager. I graduated from a soft, mellow classical guitar and folk music, to a cheap but loud Japanese electric guitar and amp, then embarked on a determined campaign to learn every good song on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey.
I set about accomplishing this by playing--over and over and over and over--the same basic group of three-chord rock -and-roll hits in my parents’ dining room, just feet from where they sat, vainly trying to read, watch television and think straight.
My mom” “It’s kinda loud, isn’t it?”
My dad: “What’d you say?”
I couldn’t help but think of them. I couldn’t help thinking of how truly loving and supportive they always were.
“If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes and it will change.”
We’ve all heard this hackneyed old phrase that virtually every region of the country claims for its own.
Our return trip from son Colin’s place in Northwest Minnesota provided a study in contrast. We woke up on departure day (Monday) to the sight of 8 inches of fresh snow, with more piling up at an alarming rate. Increasing my pleasure at these wintery conditions was a temperature that threatened to cause my unprotected ears to freeze and fall clattering to the driveway as I shoveled us out. Yes, it was all of ten degrees, with a brisk breeze to boot. The weather guys reported it as a “narrow band” of dreadful weather, so we set out for home. Whiteouts and crazy truck traffic drove us off the expressway quickly, so we zig-zagged our way on secondary roads, taking our time and eventually easing out of the snow belt. It was midafternoon when we started getting calls from home.
Seventy degrees.
Scary-looking skies.
Another tornado in Galva!
If we could have gotten an earlier start and hustled a little more, we could have enjoyed a full sixty-degree temperature swing, plus just about every brand of severe weather in the book.
Maybe next time.

1 comment:

  1. Hey John - Been time traveling with your blog (it's a quiet day at the library of the #1 NCAA b-ball school)...Since May of '09 each time you passed thru NC you guys were within a couple of minutes of shelter, story-telling and rest. I've been full time in D'erm (as it's said here)and for a year or so prior to that was making the 900 mile commute from Michigan every couple of if/when "youse" pass this way again, do drop in?