there, but for fortune…

so i came home from an excruciatingly long rehearsal tonight with a sense of purpose…and i got halfway there.

a neighbor of darryl’s called him while i was there recently and asked if he knew anyone who could help her sell off some of her late husbands’ belongings.  darryl had hipped me to this lady some years before, but she had never made contact, but now she was…so i made an appointment to go meet with her and her daughter (who was preparing to move in the very near future) and look at what they had.  well, without getting into too much detail, i ended up committing to helping her sell this stuff on eBay.  it took two trips in my trusty blue VW van, but everything is now hopelessly cluttering my dining room.  now isn’t really a good time to be cluttering my dining room, but cluttered it is.  so tonight when i got home at midnight, i started going through the boxes of books and tapes and cds and magazines and various and sundry “miscellaneous” items…wow.  what a huge pile of crap.  it is amazing to me the sheer amount of crap that we amass over time.  it should come as a surprise to me least of probably every person on the planet, as i’ve amassed a pretty huge pile of crap myself, largely by doing exactly what i’m doing now…taking on other people’s stuff.

this guy, however, was a guitar player…as evidenced by his belongings.

and one that i would have been pretty simpatico with, based on everything else i’m finding.

so i’m going through box after box of this fellas’ stuff, and my own mortality is looming pretty close overhead.  all the typical cliches are flying through my head, including the ever popular “can’t take it with you” and such…and they’re cliches for a reason, ya know…most of them are true.

this exercise, combined with the walks through the family graveyards this past weekend, make for some pretty somber thought.

the lesson that i seem to come away from it all with is that i should find ways to enjoy my talents and use them in a way i’m satisfied with, and enjoy them for both myself and that which i think of as a higher power – because nothing lasts forever, and someday someone is going to be faced with the task of going through my accumulated crap.

my hope is that when that time comes, that my assembled souvenirs will paint a picture of someone who used his time here memorably.

a lot of thoughts of my grandfather today…todd hit a vocal riff at practice tonight that reminded me of faron young, the country singer…and i remember how my grandfather used to loathe seeing him on tv.  “i can lissen to ‘im on the radio all day long”, he’d say, “but i sure cain’t stand seein’ that bastard on the tv.”

my grandfather taught me about peppermint and saltines (two things i’d have never tried as a pair).  he knew better than anyone i knew up to that point how to make a fashion statement…his overalls and grey baseball cap were synonymous with him.  i remember my grandmother putting mason jars of water in the freezer in the mornings, and sending me out to the field where he was plowing at lunchtime with the resultant ice, only to have it turn into water by the time i’d get to where the tractor was.  i can still remember clinging to the fender, next to his seat, holding on as he drove back to the house for dinner.

he and i never really had a relationship…i think we both knew how different we were before we were able to know how different we were, if that makes any sense at all.  he knew i didn’t have the mettle for farming or hunting, and that’s all he really had to give me.  i can respect that now, but then it just felt like a barrier.  i wish i still had him around to talk to now, now that i think i know a little better how to deal with allowing each other to be different without letting our differences be an alienating factor.

i think he would have liked me as an adult.  i don’t think he liked me much as a kid.

my sister told me something once…not this past trip, but a conversation from a long time ago, that she was privvy to a conversation that circled around to discussing my old habit of building drums out of whatever i could get my hands on, and about my makeshift “drumkit” constructed of lard buckets, crisco cans, hubcaps and the like…and he reportedly said, “yeah, we all made fun of ‘im while he was back there beatin’ on them cans, but it looks like he’s the only one of the grandkids whos’ made anything out of ‘imself.”

i could sit here and write all night long and not quite convey how it felt to hear that.

i came home with a bunch of old pictures, some of him, some of other family members, which are stacked here in my house, alongside the belongings of what could have been a good friend and fellow musician, had i had an opportunity to meet him.

he wasn’t that old, either…hadn’t made 60 yet, was barely 50, from what i understand….

there but for fortune indeed….

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