Tuesday, October 30, 2007

When you come to the fork in the road.....take it.

I had a sad, perplexing, happy, reflective week a few weeks back. Get this. My friend, and bandmate, died. 55. My aunt died. 96. My new nephew was born. 0. And I spent a little time in Central Park's Strawberry Fields. (Nice job, Yoko.) One week!!! Dang!!!
Y'know I always thought I'd opt for the no funeral/ cremation thing. But there's something comforting....final....about a funeral. Especially the way we Catholics do it. Fallen or otherwise. It's not really for the guy in the box, is it? When you get in your car after the post funeral/cemetary/lunch /celebration to drive home, at some point you do the big exhale. You know...the same one you do at the end of a relationship, job, exam, close call. It's our body's way of saying goodbye, wrap it up, adios.
When I was around twenty one or so I got a pretty hard dumping from my girlfriend. I was ripped up. ....... calling and pleading my case. Of course, I realize now.....if you want to really push someone away....do that. We're funny creatures. But in the middle of my depression I took a walk down the street and spent a good chunk of the afternoon sitting in the local dugout. Ballfields...great places for clarity. And I was still close enough to reflect on glorious summer afternoons when I "owned" that field. I went home....called the girlfriend....told her I got it...wished her luck....good bye. Big exhale. She called me two days later. (Uh....sorry babe....too late.) So, I think, on my final exhale..... I want the works. Big wake, replete with posters, pictures, guitars, video, music music music and Catholic high mass. Full choir accompanied by a huge pipe organ. (Back off, Freud.) The burial thing I'm still a little leery of. Too many Twilight Zones. Remember the one....I think it was one of the later Twilight Zones... where the inmate at a prison makes a deal with the coffin maker to allow him to be buried with the next body that goes out...then the coffin maker will come dig him up and off he goes? A few weeks later the bell tolls signifying a death in the prison. That night our boy sneaks into the coffin with the fresh corpse and is buried the next day. After a while he starts getting worried, pulls the sheet back on his roommate and....... AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!..........it's the coffin maker!!!!!!! Oops! Creeps me out, man.
My aunt was ready to die. She'd suffered with arthritis for years and lost her son a couple of years ago. My friend Steve had cancer, along with other things, and even though he was never awake the couple of times I went to see him, I'd heard he'd had enough, also. I left him the latest Rolling Stone. My new nephew, Michael....was he ready to be born? I think he was. I think we're in charge of that. (I refer you to earlier blogs) But I have to think this post demise celebration through some more. Guess I'd better let somebody know.
Life really is a gift, isn't it? So many paths that can be taken. Choice. TOO MANY!!!!! It really takes me a long time to catch on. To so many things. That's why I think I've been allowed to hang around this long. And so many close calls. But...I'm getting it....slowly. And I think the idea is....be good to each other. I can't seem to get away from that. Affect people. Think of how many people you've affected....on purpose or otherwise. I can think of three couples who've met on band jobs I've played. They had kids....and so on. I was giving this guy a guitar lesson many years ago and noticed he played like a drummer. We had a chat. Last I checked he was playing drums with a show band in Vegas. It's not E Street but, hey! I gave a guy from my old hometown a ride home one Christmas Eve when I saw him broken down on the side of the road. Something anyone'd do, right? I see him about once every five years and he still mentions that. With enthusiasm. Like it or not, we're affecting lives. I can't wait to see how it all ties together.
So what have I learned? Slowly? Be kind. And good pitching will always beat good hitting. Peace.
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