Saturday, March 28, 2020

Soundtrack for Seclusion: More Ambient Goodness for your Weekend

wlr​-​t03 by [whitelabtapes]

I discovered this minimal masterpiece while perusing Bandcamp, the portal to another musical dimension, where you can find sound artists of many ilk share and sell their work.

About Bandcamp:

Bandcamp's mission is to "...create the best possible service for artists and labels to share and earn money from their music, and for fans to discover and support it.

For lovers of music, it is a treasure trove, for sure. You can create an account, purchase albums and listen any time. You can add things to your Wish List, so you can remember what you want to buy for later. Everything I will share on this blog is something I have purchased, and if you enjoy it, I encourage you to purchase it, too. For very little cash-o-la, you can directly support an artist, whose work you enjoy. NOTE: The album I share above was about $12 for the download. A steal at that price. You can also pay more and even send albums to others as gifts! If any of you out there end up creating an account on Bandcamp, feel free to find me there.

Friday, March 13, 2020

A Year: The Beginning of the End: Part III

You died in the wee hours of Sunday, February 24, 2019. I tried to stay awake, but the drive wore me out.

We sped through Tullahoma, past the cemetery, and into the steep drive of the home at about 1:30 in the morning. I wasn't sure what we'd find. For the last hundred miles, my mind had raced with scenes from our time in Kingston Springs. Brush fires and mini bikes. Barney Miller and fried okra instead of popcorn. The one that kept coming around were all the times you lay on my bed with me and, in the dark, we'd look up at the glow-in-the-dark stars and pretend we were on a hill somewhere. It was there that you would ask me my troubles, and I could tell them to you, and you would always listen. And when the sun came up again, I always felt a little better. That was a rare, special space, and it helped an insecure, sad boy than you'll ever know. By the time we hit Tennessee the stars had become snow again slicing the windshield. We were so close.

I heard the factory sound coming from your room as soon as I rounded the corner. I never thought I'd love that horrible sound. It meant you were still breathing. I smiled at your photo on the door, the one with you holding a box of Rice-a-Roni from the weekly auction in the lobby. You looked happy in that picture, sad, but happy. We snuck in the room slowly as if too fast would break everything. You looked so tired, Mom, and I just wanted you to rest. I wanted you to rest then wake up and tell me my hair looked awful like you always do. You never liked it when I started wearing my hair longer. I think it had to do with the song by Rod Stewart about growing up, or rather not. Little Michael had a bowl haircut.

When we saw your face, it was real. You were in a loud, cavernous sleep. The morphine and exhaustion saw to that. It was a giant's sleep. I carefully sat beside you and watched you snore like dad used to. I laughed, and then I didn't. I realized were struggling for air. For a minute or so your face and dad's switched back and forth. The exact same sounds. The worst kind of deja vu. After a while, Shelly decided to leave for the hotel 20 minutes away in Manchester, and I decided to stay. I knew I was lucky to have caught you still able to snore. I didn't want to push my luck.

It's here that it gets tricky. See, I leaned in and held your hand, and with only inches between us, we spoke. You listened patiently as I struggled to tell you everything you mean to me in under a minute. There's no way. And while there were no words, I heard you answer, and in that tiny, vast space between us, it felt beautiful. It felt complete.

Sleep well, Annie June Gause. Thank you for waiting, and thank you for doing it right. And should you ever need a reminder of our last time together, just close your eyes and picture the stars.

That should do it.


Thursday, March 5, 2020

A Year: Beginning the End: Part II

Night stand. Boxes. Folded sheets. I felt like I was waking up, when I realized that I was sitting there beside you, sipping sweet tea the nurse gave me. Everything was pastel blues and pinks and smelled like baby powder. I wasn't sure of the date, and the room was still, careful not to wake you. Then it returned. February 23. Night. Right. Sick. Right.

It was funny, because Ken and Naoko had been down a week or so before. He said you were hanging in there. I got regular updates while I got up, went to work, and pretended like you weren't dying, pretended like my mother wasn't dying. My show went on, and I felt helpless, Mom. It was like listening to a scary story, where there's nothing you can do, but let it be told so it can end.

Wauuuuk. Pshhhhhhhhh, the sound breathed for you, pooling like fog into the hallway. It looped like a toy factory. Moving to Mississippi, then El Paso, meeting Dad in the boarding house, back to TN, to spending your final days not one mile from where you were born at Aunt Ellen's place, to standing by Dad through his drinking and depression, and now this little trinket - smaller than a bread basket - was the only thing between you and the ned. Two boys and 3 miscarriages (that would have made five boys, what you always wanted). It seemed wrong. It should take more to keep someone like you going. I know you know what I mean.

Well, right after they returned home, it happened. I remember the facility kept cycling through sad couplets like "vacant stare," "no food," energy fading." More and more discussions were filled with strokes and heart attacks and how the hell somebody could have survived both at the same time. Thank goodness Bobbie Sue was staying with you that night. You were right all those times. You are a tough old bird. Not 24 hours after Ken and Naoko returned home, we hit the road and drove down straight through hyperspace snow and the hundred shades of southern sunset, hoping we wouldn't hit Coffee County after you left it. Shelly and I drove as fast we could in that weather hating the ping on our phones every time the facility or my brother would send an update. I remember just one "You'll want to hurry. Her lips are to turning blue." And we were still an hour out. I rolled down the window and let the air take my breath instead of screaming. A body does what it can. It holds on for closure. It bullets through the night asking favors of God. Sometimes it tries to cheat time for just one more round.

to be continued...