Lydia.....

... I switched out the CD that had been snuggled in Vivienne's CD player for the past few months and threw in some Prine....one of his Live albums, actually, and a true gem...... I'll give Tom Waits a rest for a few weeks at least before I sling him back towards cute Vivienne..... anyway, it occurred to me today that many people probably haven't heard one of the great poetic masterpieces by Mr. Prine....... so, I feel that I should share a few of his words...... and thus, we will all become just a wee bit more educated....... behold....

Donald and Lydia by John Prine

Small town, bright lights, Saturday night,
Pinballs and pool halls flashing their lights.
Making change behind the counter in a penny arcade
Sat the fat girl daughter of Virginia and Ray

Lydia
Lydia hid her thoughts like a cat
Behind her small eyes sunk deep in her fat.
She read romance magazines up in her room
And felt just like Sunday on Saturday afternoon.

But dreaming just comes natural
Like the first breath from a baby,
Like sunshine feeding daisies,
Like the love hidden deep in your heart.

Bunk beds, shaved heads, Saturday night,
A warehouse of strangers with sixty watt lights.
Staring through the ceiling, just wanting to be
Lay one of too many, a young PFC:

Donald
There were spaces between Donald and whatever he said.
Strangers had forced him to live in his head.
He envisioned the details of romantic scenes
After midnight in the stillness of the barracks latrine.

But dreaming just comes natural
Like the first breath from a baby,
Like sunshine feeding daisies,
Like the love hidden deep in your heart.

Hot love, cold love, no love at all.
A portrait of guilt is hung on the wall.
Nothing is wrong, nothing is right.
Donald and Lydia made love that night.

Love
They made love in the mountains, they made love in the streams,
They made love in the valleys, they made love in their dreams.
But when they were finished there was nothing to say,
'Cause mostly they made love from ten miles away.

But dreaming just comes natural
Like the first breath from a baby,
Like sunshine feeding daisies,
Like the love hidden deep in your heart.

.... like Waits, you may not like his voice....... but also like Waits, if you don't like Prine's words, then you have no soul........ music isn't always about the soothing voices and melodic musicianship...... music is simply a different form of poetry..... a poetry that Waits and Prine are Masters at creating......

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Formative....

.... they say that the formative years are so very, very important...... and I suspect that my musical taste as an adult can be traced back to that long-ago evening when I was gifted this little gem about 1975....

... is it any wonder that I crave the soothing tones of Tom Waits and John Prine now?.....

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After.....

.. when I was a little boy, my family often gathered at the New Providence Baptist Church, just outside Tellico Plains, for their cemetery's annual "decoration"..... it was a festive affair that included an open-air picnic, casserole ensconced tables, and multitudes of frilly-smocked Southern Ladies shooing flies away from homemade meringues..... and, in the background, the motley crew of my Grandfather and his progeny..... absentmindedly chewing tobacco, smoking, and embarrassedly casting glances between the food covered tables that they hadn't contributed to, the graveyard that bordered the church and held their ancestors, and the safety and escape that their dilapidated Chevys humbly offered them with just a turn of a key....

.... we weren't parishioners of the church though, since we all lived many miles away in an adjoining county, but we lurked in the parking lot one Sunday out of the year nonetheless......... I cannot recall ever having set foot inside the auspicious building, but I knew the bushes and shade trees that dotted the lane leading up to the church very well.... my Great Grandfather had been the church's first preacher, and his son, my Grandfather, with a grandiose feeling of entitlement, felt that his Father's long ago Service somehow obliged him and his sordid children a table at the yearly feast...... even at the age of 10, I remember feeling quite embarrassed by the sheer gall of it all.....

.... But the fact that my Great Granddaddy was buried there gave a sliver of solace.... I never really had the nerve to belly-up to the concrete tables and gorge myself on the free bounty like my relatives did, but I did like to wander through the tombstones, away from the noisy crowd, and read the names and dates of the long ago departed....

... some of the markers were handmade..... some had only a name and no date..... some, you could tell, were not carved at all, but instead were made from a water-smoothed river rock simply turned upright to signify the Passing of a Life...... poor and rich were buried side by side in the shadow of Starr Mountain.....

... years later, my Grandfather would follow his mother, father, and brother into the sloping field of gravestones..... he lies there now, beside them.... his wife, my Grandmother, was placed there this past December..... the end of an era, one could say.....

.... I often wondered what the church-folk thought of that gang of sinners who congregated outside every year when THEY piously prepared for their Feast of the Dead and listened to the fevered preachings of their Minister....

.... the "decoration".... what an odd thought, when you mull it over..... decorating a grave as a means of remembrance.... "decorating"..... it seems something that you'd do to a Christmas tree.... or in preparation for a birthday party..... or perhaps to a serviceman for some heroic, self-sacrificing act...... and yet to them, decoration meant a feast and a good wander through the cemetery.... placing flowers, vases, flags, etc...... or even just pausing for a moment at each stone and taking the time to read each name.... each date....

... I mention all of this only in passing, of course, and to say that conversation here at The Compound has recently turned towards the idea of internment....... The Missus has made her wishes clear on more than one occasion, and yesterday she pitched in once again with, "when I die, I want to be cremated.... and I want my ashes scattered on Montrose beach."...... this is the usual statement when we speak of demise, and it is not shocking........ what IS shocking is the absolute blankness of my stare when she asked ME what I wished to be done with me once I was No Longer.....

..... and to be honest, it never really had crossed my mind before...... and yet, as a sophisticated man, I must realize that it is Inevitable, is it not?......

...... I've been mulling it over in my mind for the past 24 hours, and I can say that I am just as confused and conflicted about where my mortal remains should be lain as I was a day ago...... I have no church affiliation, really, to mention, although my maternal and paternal ancestors are fairly equally distributed between two Monroe county churches...... I have no great desire to be scorched into oblivion and then sprinkled someplace...... although I served my country, I have no record that would warrant me to be planted in some military section of a Memorial Garden.... and thus, I am torn in my thoughts of the Afterlife of Repose.....

... my Mother has a plot, purchased by my Father, and will eventually lie next to him when her time comes... The Missus wishes to be scattered by her hometown's window to the sea..... but, the question remains....... where should I?.....

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Maize.....

... behold my Grandma-in-Law circa 1927 on a racetrack in Perthshire, Scotland...... her father owned a bicycle shop that began selling motocycles when they first became popular.... what a grand lady she was..... of course, I met her much, MUCH later after this photo was taken, but she still had that smile.......

... just imagine being a young, confident, independent woman in 1927... spending your days teasing the boys and then whipping their tails at the racetrack with your new motorbike after a picnic lunch overlooking the River Tay.......

... and I totally dig the leather trenchcoat and riding boots... and the leather helmet with goggles.......

.... I never saw her vertical without a perfectly applied layer of bright red lipstick...... what a gal......

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... the bike was an Ariel......

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Prine....

.... woke up humming this song and haven't been able to shake it all day long........

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York...

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Motivating.....

.... a traditional march-on to "Hearts of Oak"....... I know that this is making the rounds, but personally I thought it was the most motivating thing that I had seen in years...... especially the two fellows that whip the limber over the wall......

.... I swear, I'd say most of the folks involved had many, MANY bumps and bruises by the time this event was over...... just watch how the guys swipe that 900lb barrel off the wall and into the gun-carriage like it was made of aluminium.......

.... and how awesome to have cruisers called HMS Powerful and HMS Terrible....

.... a tip of the SWG vintage Trilby to The Pirate for this one....

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