Sunday, October 2, 2011

back in the USA

That was one long travel day: Paris to DC to San Fran.  And it is good to be home.  It's raining and there are a handful of half-ripe tomatoes.  The volunteer nasturteum army and the snapdragons and leeks are still going.  I checked with a flashlight.  The dogs are happy to see us.  Dozer very wiggly, like a puppy, even though she is eight years old. 

On the plane, I came close to finishing the authorized Willie Mays bio by James Hirsch, but the last twenty pages in confluence with the last landing of our trip had me pretty blue.  Three things stand out about Willie, that I never knew.  First, he always looked for mentors, and was gracious to them.  Second, the only we he could get any down time was to check into hospitals for exhaustion.  This reminded me of Neil Young's epileptic fits early in his career--just blowing it out, full bore, day after day.  I was also not aware of the controversy around his ethic of quiet, one-on-one personal community service versus political statements and activism.  Many black players criticized, especially Jackie Robinson.  But MLK said to Mays, "you make it easier for me to do my job."  Really appreciating this book.

 Have not thought much about music, did not much listen to music, for two whole weeks, other than a sweet impromptu jam session with a new Olvera friend named Steve Gould.  (Well, how can you not have "Spanish Bombs" pop into your head once every so often, in Andalucia?)  He brought a pair of guitars down to the bar and we felt our way through a few things.  Then he started pulling out about half the songs from Steve Earle's record Exit 0 and we had a good time.  (Steve G also does great Adrian Legg style finger-picking instrumentals and spot-on Sting numbers.)  Tried to remember "Copperhead Road," "The Devil's Right Hand," and "Valentine's Day."  There was one summer where I listened to Exit 0 and Copper Blue, alternating, for about three months straight.  One of those summers when you coulda gone under. And there was another reason it was very special:  each time I visited a cathedral in France and Spain I would think of Joe Carioti.  And "Someday" was a song we both loved and would sing and play together.  So when Steve pulled out that one, I was really touched.

We met so many fun, gracious, interesting people, and that only scratches the surface.  Eduardo took us to his olive groves; Antonio had us laughing constantly...and then there was the guy who looked like a classic rock bass player from the UK.  He approached our group and tugged on my facial hair one night, maybe because I was saying to a fellow rock and roll geek that Live at Leeds was the best rock record ever.  That was super weird and funny, and my instinct for politeness took over my instinct to ask him what the hell was going on.  Either he was hitting on me or taking the piss outta me, or both.

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