Excerpts from Leroy Cooper's memoir as told to me during conversations that took place during the 2 years we knew each other. I also write humor, flash fiction, celebrity interviews, real and made up stories--see if you can guess which are which.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
There's an old song that was recorded by Peter & Gordon back in the '70s I think. It's called A World Without Love. The chorus goes something like this: "I don't care what they say I won't live in a world without love."
Of course I agree with those sentiments but I'd like to add that I wouldn't want to live in a world without music. As some of my favorites age I am looking for young musicians to listen to. I need to be prepared to replace my favorites with new ones.
In the past 6 months I have been to many concerts including: Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltry, Leon Russell and B.B. King.
Russell has been a favorite of mine since I heard his first album A Song For You. He is 68 and has had brain surgery recently but is still performing and putting on a good show.
Nelson is 76. He's recording some great music and sings like a bird with his unmistakeable voice.
Daltry (not to be confused with Daughtry, an up and coming rock star who was voted off American Idol) is the only member of the Who left performing. Peter Townsend, the brilliant songwriter who brought us our first rock opera, Tommy, is stone deaf and expected to have implant surgery. If it is successful, Daltry said, they will be back on the road touring together within the year.
King is 84 and I would venture a guess that his recording career may be over. He has left us a great deal of music and will never be gone in my heart and ears. He is still touring but probably not for much longer. He has a GREAT band who should keep going when the time comes. His keyboard player, Ernest Vantrease a.k.a. The Deacon, played with Ray Charles until 2004 when Ray died (passed, as they say now). Ernie is still young and will find another gig when the time comes. He is my friend and I go to see B.B. every time he comes to town just to see Ernest and hear him play. (The picture above is from 5/4/2010 with my friend Ernie and my hubby.)
And then there's Clapton. I've been listening to Clapton since his first album with Cream, Disraeli Gears, was brought across the pond. I have watched his life take twists and turns. Nobody thought he would survive his addiction and then the loss of his son. His music has evolved in rhythm with his life and strangely enough, with mine.
I listen to him a little bit every day--or almost every day--at least in my head. I could not tell you which of his albums is my favorite. Every year I wait anxiously for a new one to be released and I fall in love with him--er, I mean his music--all over again.
Eventually, everybody has to die. I know the current politically correct word is "pass" not die but either way he won't be recording anymore. I fear that day.
Let me simply say that I hope he outlives me because I don't care what they say, I don't want to live in a world without Clapton! Okay, okay. I'm not going to do anything stupid but I think I've made my point. Have to go now, Eric's on TV singing Hoochie Coochie Man.
In line with my last post, I think I'll designate May 8 as Clapton Day. And maybe, May 9. And maybe, well, let's just say that every day is Clapton Day in my little world.
Hallmark has built a whole segment of its business creating new fake holidays. I'll bet that if you search the world wide web you could find something to celebrate everday and if enough people recognized that day Hallmark would create a card for it. Google, you may have noticed, beat them to the punch by displaying graphics for some of the most obscure days to celebrate. Of course, everyday you wake up (as opposed to not waking up) is a holiday in my book and should be celebrated accordingly but I can't envision a card that says,
You woke up today to see the skies
Weather is just weather you realize
Cloudy, rainy, sunny or overcast
Live today like it's your last.
Have a nice day!
Actually, that sounds like a pretty good idea but I won't be calling it in to Hallmark any time soon.
And to keep in line with tomorow's holiday I think a special day should be set aside for step-mothers. Mothers should be acknowledged for being mothers. After all, they went through the process of childbirth and there's a lot to be said for that.
Personally, though, I don't think step-mothers should be celebrated on Mother's Day. I think that we should have a day of our own. It could be on a Monday or Wednesday Those are both bad TV nights in my house so any excuse to go out to dinner is worthy.
Administrative Assistant Day is on Wednesday and it is most certainly a Hallmark holiday that was originally Secretary's Day before being a secretary became a shameful occupation. That's the day when managers of both sexes acknowledge their surrogate wives/husbands for taking care of them for 8 to 10 hours a day.
I know this country is abundant with step-mothers. Wouldn't you like to have a day when you weren't competing with birth mothers? Children wouldn't feel obligated to figure out how not to offend one or the other and birth mothers wouldn't have to say "She is not your mother. Only I am your mother."
Ah, heck. Forget it. No more holidays. No more cards. Being celebrated, thanked or respected for just one day out of 365 isn't that important. Let's go back to my earlier idea. Each day is a good one regardless of whether someone tells you it is or not. Celebrate it as if it were you birthday. Be good to yourself and kind to others. When a cashier says, "Have a nice day" as he hands you your receipt, say "Thank you, I will because today is my day."
I think I'll celebrate waking up this morning and go shopping and buy myself a present! That sounds like a plan.
Happy Mother's Day and for the rest of you Happy Day!
Friday, May 7, 2010
Here is my Mother's Day story for #Fridayflash (check it out on Twitter). Please comment and/or critique as you see fit.
“I can’t find my blue sweater,” Addy whined from her bedroom. Addy had that frustrated look on her face that is so common with tweens—you know, the ‘whatever’ generation. Her mother was preparing lunches downstairs for Addy and her brother and looked up with a half smile on her face. She recognized the tone of her daughter’s voice.
“Have you looked in your closet?” she yelled to her daughter.
“Of course I looked in my closet. What are you making me for lunch? Oh no, not peanut butter and bananas again. My friends all bring things like ham and cheese and they think I’m poor because you keep giving me peanut butter and banana sandwiches.”
It was obvious that her mother didn’t understand what being a 12 year old girl was like these days.
“What did you do with my sweater, Mom?”
“Did you look in your middle drawer? Why not look in all your drawers. Maybe I just put it in the wrong drawer after I did the laundry.”
That would be just like her mother, Addy thought, putting her sweater in the wrong place.
“No, it’s not in any of my drawers. I wanted to wear that sweater today. It’s my favorite. I’ve looked everywhere. What did you do with it?”
“Addy, what can I do to you if I come upstairs and find that sweater in your room? Hmmm?”
“Can I ground you for the weekend?”
“Can I spank you?”
“Can I take away your cell phone for a week?”
Finally, Addy couldn’t stand it anymore. She knew her mother wouldn’t find it in her room so she yelled, “Yes! Yes! Yes! You can do all of those things. But you’ll never find it because it’s not There.”
Mom finished packing the lunches and walked up the stairs and stood in Addy’s doorway. Her daughter sat on the bed in her bra and jeans sulking.
“It’s lost!” she said.
Mom walked over to Addy’s closet. The floor was covered with clothes, some clean and some dirty. Bending over the pile, her mother lifted a pair of rejected jeans out of the stack. Under those there was a tee shirt with a peace symbol on it and spread out beneath that was a nightshirt.
“See? I told you it was lost,” Addy whined.
And then her mother picked up the nightshirt and there it was—the blue sweater. Without a word she picked up the sweater and smelled the armpits. It hadn’t been worn since she had washed it. She put it on the bed, smoothed it out while Addy looked on in amazement.
“You found it!” she wailed. “Oh mom, thank you!” she said as she slipped the sweater over her head.
“Turn around,” her mother said.
“Why?” Addy said as she started to turn.
“Because I’m going to spank you, and then take away your cell phone and, by the way you’re grounded for the weekend.”
Addy’s face froze. “My cell phone? Grounded for the weekend? Go ahead and spank me but don’t take away my cell phone!” Panic had overcome Addy’s 12 year old face.
“Say please,” her mother said.
“Please, mom, please?”
“Okay, Addy. You’re blue sweater looks nice but you should take better care of your things. Go downstairs and get your lunch. You’re going to miss the bus.”
In a flash Addy was down the stairs leaving her mother standing there smiling. As she ran out the door her mother heard her say quietly, “I love you, mom.” She didn’t answer. She didn’t need to. Addy knew.
© Susan Cross May 2010