I got a call from the partner of one of my Dad’s oldest friends over the weekend. Eddie drifted out of Dad’s life a few years before he died. It seems he got kind of weird and cut himself off from all his friends. Daddy always kind of thought Eddie went back to the reservation (he’s Native American, although I can’t remember what tribe). We hadn’t heard from him in so long, I kind of thought Eddie was already gone by the time Daddy died, and I wasn’t sure how to get a hold of him anyway. Well, Eddie’s still around, but his partner (can’t remember if they got married) says he’s probably not long for this world. He was asking for my dad. And I wish to whatever god might be listening that I could deliver him.
The Indian was a hard-drinking, hard living son of a bitch. He rode a motorcycle until he wiped out and messed up his leg; always walked with a limp after that. He told even taller tales than my old man did–that’s why they called him True Story, because he’d always claim it was a “true story” no matter how ridiculous it was. One of Dad’s favorite stories about him was how they went into a local bar that turned out to be a cop bar, and Eddie got into a fight with a few of the cops and got them banned. But he was funny and generous; Eddie would give you the shirt off his back and never ask for anything in return. Eddie was one of a kind, and it breaks my heart to know that he’s dying without the one friend he was asking for.
The news about Eddie has got me thinking about Dad a lot. I sent a message out into the universe for him to go see Eddie, and I hope he listens. And I hope when Eddie gets there, they go out drinking and lie to the waitresses and get into a couple of fights.
Mom injured her back about a week and a half ago, and she’s not taking care of herself. Which means I am obsessing over everything. That also makes me unable to concentrate long enough to even think of a song I want to post. So until I’m more comfortable with her health, I’ll be taking some time off from the Jukebox. Hopefully, I’m just being paranoid (a distinct possibility), and it will be smooth sailing real soon.
So I’ve got some news I’ve been sitting on for a while, partly because I’ve been busy with life and partly because I had some other things to post. But here it is, faithful Jukebox listeners. . .
I’m going back to school!
I got accepted to an online Master’s program at San Jose State University, which means I probably won’t be having any “hot for teacher” problems. It also means I don’t have to leave home or put on decent clothes to go to class (which is a shame since I just bought some new shoes). I’m looking forward to getting back to it, but I’m not looking forward to figuring out how to pay for it. (If anyone has any suggestions besides filling out the FAFSA form and student loans, I’m open to them.) Classes don’t begin until Fall, so I have a little time to pull it together.
I plan to keep up the Jukebox, in case anyone was wondering, but there might be times when I go off the grid for a week or two. This place is kind of a haven for me where I get to opine about life and music and other stuff pretty much at will, so I’m not going anywhere. I like having my own little soapbox to stand on.
I might have stuff on my mind right now, but that’s no reason to be completely silent. At least that’s what I’ve decided today; we’ll see how long I can maintain.
My brain is a weird place. I tend to get really focused on stuff, and everything else falls by the wayside. Then, I feel crappy about not getting the other stuff done. I suppose everyone has the same problem. And I suppose you can compare it to the laundry: Sorting thoughts is a bit like sorting the colors from the whites, delicates from regular cycle items. Of course, I just wash everything in cold water on delicate; it saves a lot of time.
One of the things I have been doing is watching too much news. Prosecutors dying mysteriously in Argentina. Planes crashing in Asia. Terrorists everywhere up to the same old barbarism. Politicians spewing nonsense left and right. Measles outbreaks because some parents are stupid. (Yes, the anti-vaxxers are stupid. Unless there’s a legitimate medical reason why a child shouldn’t be vaccinated, every one of them should be required by law to get their safe and effective inoculations. Period.) It’s all the same paranoia-inducing garbage. At least I’ve been trying to watch the Newshour on PBS and listen to NPR more instead of local and network news. Public broadcasting at least gives a more balanced and analytical look at stories.
I’ve also discovered a new podcast (like I needed one of those). It’s called Invisiblia and it’s really, really awesome. (And I had to try five times to successfully type the title and create the link without autocorrect changing it to “invisible.”) The topics are fascinating, the stories are moving, and there’s even a little moment of non-zen at the end of each episode. According to my Google search, it’s also pretty popular. Give it a listen if podcasts are your kind of thing. Or if they’re not. Invisiblia just might win you over.
That’s about it. I’m still here, sorting through my thoughts and listening to all sorts of things. Some of them might even be music.
Art wasn’t famous. He played in bars and restaurants, small gatherings and festivals. He made some records of his own, but they weren’t exactly chartbusters, so he made a living writing songs and playing with other musicians in Nashville (with some side trips into other jobs to pay the bills). People didn’t talk about A.J. Masters; the paparazzi didn’t follow him. But I always knew who he was.
See, my aunt was his friend. She knew Art for something like forty years. She used to go watch him play in those bars and restaurants, and sometimes she’d take me along. We went to see him last a couple years ago, in the courtyard of a little church. His father had just passed away, and he was in town for that sad business, but he made some time to visit old friends and play some tunes. When my aunt dropped by this morning to wish me happy birthday, she also delivered the news that Art had died a couple weeks ago. She said it was the first time she could talk about it without bursting into tears. There’s already been services and memorials in Nashville, but they’re hoping to get something done out here in SoCal for him soon.
Really, that’s all I’ve got. Enjoy the music. Artie sure did.
I’ve got some things going on right now, but I’m not quite ready to share anything yet. It’s part of why I’ve been so neglectful of the Jukebox lately. When I’ve got things on my mind, my first instinct is to retreat into myself. My second is instinct is to prove that denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. But I am working on stuff. Just not blog stuff.
So I’ll give you this sublime little bit of Doo Wop from the Orioles. It’s one of those songs that seems ordinary until that moment when the sky opens up and it reveals itself to hold the potential of the universe (you’ll know that moment as soon as you hear it). It’s something I never would’ve heard at all if it hadn’t been for the equally sublime writing of the great Greil Marcus.
Yeah. I’m still in the mood to rock. Buckle up kids. This might go on for a while.
I may be relieving a little stress, too. The holidays were busy and a little frantic, but that’s to be expected. But what was unexpected was the car accident Mom and I got into on the 23rd. We’re fine (she had a little stiff neck, and one of my ample bosoms got bruised by the seatbelt), but her car is a wreck. The other guy–who just backed out into us, basically–was also fine. It just added that extra little bit of stress to Christmas that, frankly, we really didn’t need.
Now as y’all might remember, I don’t drive. But I do own a car. I bought my dad’s 2012 Kia outright a while back, and a friend of mine was using it because he needed to save some money and wants to sell his gas guzzler. Luckily, he lives just a few blocks away and was nearly home when the accident happened. He picked us up and gave back the Kia, which Mom is now nervously driving. It’s going to take a little while to re-establish equilibrium, but things could’ve been a lot worse.
Other than that, everything’s hunky dory out here. How’s things for y’all?