A guy I know in Greensboro, bandleader of the rock band I still kind of belong to and guitarist for the klezmer group I also kind of belong to, even though I now live about 580 miles north of there, was hospitalized on Wednesday, Dec. 2 of 2006 with what turned out to be a tumor. It was taken out successfully. So he'd been in the ICU for a few days, no solid food, still pre-operative, and Saturday came around and I offered to visit him. Naturally I asked
Can you play?
I'm pretty wired up, so it depends. I feel well enough to play.
Is your daughter home? If so, I'll grab my guitar, swing by your house to get yours, and bring it.
As a matter of fact....
So I did.
I get there, we're talking, and a friend of his walks in and says "you're finally without your guitar!"
We gesture toward the side wall. Two cases. Who do you think you're dealing with here?
My friend has a pulsox on his left hand, glowing red and reading blood oxygen levels ("sats"). He asks the nurse if he can move it to his right hand.
"Your sats have been fine since you got here. Take it off."
We pull out guitars. His friend takes phone video. We jam for a while, but the first thing makes it onto video, two guitars and vocal harmony courtesy of, uh, me, I'm no singer but I could hold it down ok. We're in the Intensive Care Unit so he's on an IV, screens blipping away, and what's the tune?
It was forwarded to my phone but my friend won't let it go to YouTube. He forgot a verse and our tuning could have been a bit better. He was on an IV and hadn't eaten solid food for three days but, you know, Standards. I just watched it.
I recently found this existed. I was probably away at college, because I knew the station and the DJ
nana, thinking of you.
You're in hard times, that's for sure. Grieving with your people though is better than grieving at not home.
I'll go on record as not requesting any check-ins here. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and do whatever feels right in the moment. You know how to find us.
Hi heron. Woke up 3pm Central Time after 16 hours out like a light. Was the first real sleep I've had since Steve died, but when I looked at my phone to check the time I thought it was 3am, maybe Sunday, maybe Kansas City.
Steve's wake was yesterday. It was 104 in the shade, probably 115 heat index, with the local news weather guys saying solar flares were happening. I'll write more about it when I'm able, but I can't write or do anything else worth a fuck on this so-called smart phone. Me and Syl were the last guests to leave Jenny's place, though I would have left a half hour before if I hadn't been waiting around for Syl to find his car keys. He never did, so I offered to give him a ride out to KCK even though it was 20 or 30 miles the opposite direction I was going. A massive thunderstorm had been approaching for hours, and just a few blocks away from Jenny's the front slammed into us with 60 mph winds and torrential rain and violently strobing lightning. Visibility dropped to 20 feet, and sheets of water flowing across the ground made it impossible to tell where the road was, so I pulled over to wait it out. I am a very experienced, very good driver, and there have only been 2 or 3 times I was forced by weather to stop driving, but this was one of them. Syl didn't like it a bit though, I guess he reallywanted to get home and get home right now, so he kept hassling me and offering to drive if I couldn't and etc, and eventually I had to explain why he needed to shut up. He then jumped out of the truck and ran off into the storm toward Jenny's, where I'm assuming he either called an Uber or found his car keys once daylight and reason had returned. I texted Eli to let him and the boys know Syl was on foot somewhere in Raytown, and after a while the storm front passed on through and I was able to make my way here across wide swathes of the city darkened by power outages and intersections where the only traffic signals were squad cars with their lights reflecting redblueredbluered off wet asphalt.
What surreal time. It sounds like the kind of dream you get when sick with a fever, except you were awake. Then when you slept, it was long and dreamless.Topsy turvy and inverted.
I am so sorry you are having to go through this awful time. Phone notwithstanding, that was a vivid paragraph of writing. Maybe that’s your silk purse. Writing now could result in some of your best. Even the form, the notes app on your phone. Leave the typos :)
How’s KC? Do you see it the same way as before you left?
Nana,thank you for writing and letting us know what's going on. So very thoughtful, and kind. You didn't have to, but thank you.
The heat went away yesterday, though it will be back soon enough, August generally being the hottest month here. The storm, though... There seemed sometimes to be a disproportionately high incidence of freakish meteorological events when Steve and I got together. From the ice crystal-laden, prismatically shimmering cloud formations we watched for hours one autumn afternoon over Stranger Creek, to the gurgling insta-river that flowed over us in our sleeping bags during a 3am cloudburst near Marais des Cygnes, to the mile-high wall of debris and black cloud and straight line winds that we watched roll in like armaggedon one time near the Iowa border... I dunno, weird shit always seemed to be happening.
Hey nana ~
I saw some of the crazy storms your way on the news.... sure seemed like a freakish meteorological event from here. Smart of you to pull over!
I can almost hear the sounds, feel the air from the inside of a car pulled over while in one of those crazy intense midwest storms.... the last one we were in, years ago now, I pulled over into a hotel lot to wait out blinding storm heads crashing. The hotel sign suddenly crashed down onto and through the trunk roof of the car next to us. Looked like someone had loaded up the sign, it fit so oddly perfectly. Scared the sh** out of everyone in the car - Kansas (where we were, right after we left Missouri) has some crazy intensity, period, imho!
Good to hear from you ~
I still just...... can't believe it.
You two were electrically charged as brothers go. I left Jenny an observation that on OS if one of you was dissed, it was a matter of minutes until the other showed up to rumble. Sometimes I wondered if the disser did it just to start the show.
People who process experience visually retain acute memories in a visual way, as your descriptions do. I can see it.
Storms and other natural dramas are even more memorable when shared. During the storm we had here in ’91, what’s now called The Perfect Storm, I went to the beach with a friend, even though people were told to stay home. I’ve never seen anything like that storm. Although she passed away a couple years ago, and we had lots of other shared experiences, watching the storm with her, both of us soaked, as immense waves broke over the seawall onto the road and front porches is my default memory of her.
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