Friday, April 05, 2013

Half of the time we're gone, but we don't know where. We don't know where.

Maybe if we had a map we'd know where we had gone.

But that's not the point.

I have you down as 'gone' a good sixty percent of the time.
That's not the point either.

The point is:  Who listens to Simon & Garfunkel anyway?

Me?  I'm listening to Toots and the Maytals.  But prior to that, and whilst in bed last night, letting the darkness sweep over me, I did.  Last night I listened to their Live 1969 album.  Today in the studio I listened to Bookends and Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Why? you are surely asking.

Well, I stumbled across a documentary last night titled The Making of Bridge Over Troubled Water, or The Harmony Game -- I'm not sure which -- and I was swept away by the whole thing.  They covered a lot of ground, but what they did that I really liked was dig down into the details of how each song on that album (S&G's last) was produced.  Did you know the la la las in The Boxer were recorded in a chapel on the grounds of Columbia University?  No, of course you didn't.  And that Paul Simon could really play guitar.  Not like Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page.  Different, but still.

The documentary was great.

Did I ever tell you about the time Mom called me up and asked me to transcribe the words to BOTW for her?  Not exactly sure what was on her mind, but it was at a point very late in her life and she knew she was dying and maybe she wanted to take a crack at some kind of self-eulogy.  Regardless, what are you going to say?  No?  Sorry Mom -- too big a pain in the ass?

No, man.  You, the dutiful son, sit down with the record (this was pre-digital) and you put the needle down, listen and transcribe, then repeat, then repeat until you've gotten the whole thing written down.

Then (get this!), you fold it up and put it in an envelope and mail it to her.

Anyway, ever since then (and before, really, too, I suppose), that particular song has held a particular spot in my heart.  I think, sitting by myself, playing it over and over and writing the words down, it was the first time I really could feel her dying.

Anyway, one thing led to another and at some point there was some discussion about playing the song at her memorial service.  But when we got there, nobody had either a record player or the record, so it was kind of a non-starter.  I did, however, quote extensively from it during my eulogy in a way that I think Ma would have appreciated.  I also remembering rambling on a bit, but I figure if there's a lot to say, this was the last chance to say it.  So I did.

I bet I talked for thirty minutes easy at Dad's.  But by then I think I'd found my memorial service mojo.  I hope that, years after I die, my daughters can look back on the experience and enjoy it as much as I did with my parents.

Enjoy might be the wrong word.  But it was a lot more good than bad in both cases.  And in Dad's case, let me tell you we really had a hell of a good time -- both of us.  Sneaking Bloody Marys into the nursing home; sitting around talking about the war; watching "Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders -- Making the Team."  

You should really watch that documentary if you ever get the chance.  The IMBD link is here.

Oh.  And while we're talking about dying, bon voyage to Roger Ebert.

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