Sunday, March 23, 2008

Loss and Resurrection: Happy Easter, 2008.

Easter, 1952
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
When Pop died in 1996 it was if the Universe conspired for a while to really drive home the point of Loss.

First, a burglar too not only all of our electronics, but also my jewelry box.
That box contained an assortment of little presents Pop had given me.
Mostly they were items I never ever wore because they were “all wrong:”
A pair of shiny redwood pins shaped into “PB.” (Would an 9 year old wear those?)
A silver, turquoise and coral inlaid Zuni Indian dancing with a black obsidian snake gripped between his teeth that I simply found grotesque.
A string on large agate beads, never formally strung. (Great for a matronly neck, but I was 15 at the time.)
An antique black opal ring from Italy – which I thought beautiful, but after I’d destroyed Grandma’s garnet ring (my one inheritance from her) in about a week’s time, I hesitated
to wear anything of real value.

Maybe it wasn’t so much a jewelry box as it was a haven for each somewhat “unfortunate” object, every one of which precious by the simple fact it came straight from Pop’s love.
I hardly ever wore them. But from time to time, I’d sit with them. I’d turn each one carefully, ponder each, and remember.

That was gone, now – forever.
No more holding. No more touching.

We moved on to planning Pop’s Memorial.
I wanted to use some of the Dixieland music that he loved.
He had had a large collection of records carefully transferred to reel-to-reel tape.
Poppy loved a party and he taught us all about good true jazz, and just how to rattle the bones, which he could do two handed.
He filled our house with Dixieland and celebration.
play Alphonse Picou and High Society.
This particular rendition was perfection, to me “a classic” that embodied both joy and heart break.

Well, Mom had warned me, but I hadn’t believed her.
I was welcome to have a look, but the tape recordings had disappeared years ago.
The records had been ruined more recently in a flood from the garage, though she still had a box or two.
My hopes crumbled along with one after another of the album covers.
I managed to salvage a couple records, but
I still ended up in tears, kneeling there amidst the hopeless decay.

No more listening. No more singing along.
No more High Society. No more Alphonse Picou.
But, this is an Easter message.
And my theme this past week has been something about redeeming what is lost, and the growing realization that we are all in this together.
So, voila! ...

Surprise, delight, and joy – I have found Alphonse Picou on YouTube.
Here’s a clip from around 1959 from the last years of his life.
Alphonse Picou plays his clarinet solo in High Society.
The tempo seems a bit slower than I recall.
The video is low resolution.
But, you still hear that potent mix of joy and pathos that slay me as a kid.

Viewed 10,754 times and counting in the last year.
Alphonse Picou and his music are not lost.

Here’s for you, Mom.
And for you, Pop.
For big sister Sandy and little brother Andy.
And for all of you “out there” … Happy Easter.

No comments: