The Sound of Music


Kevin and Andrea had Sunday dinner with us a couple of days ago. Actually, that isn’t all that unusual. We generally share Sunday dinner at our house or their house.  It is the one day of the week that we have time to visit in person. They are busy and we are busy and somehow the time gets eaten up in living.


At any rate, Andrea asked her mother if we’d mind keeping the dogs overnight on August something.  I wasn’t hanging on to every word. Consequently, I don’t really remember the date. I may not talk baby talk to the dogs the way the General does, but I don’t mind having the dogs here.  Please don’t mistaken that for my saying I want a dog.  I don’t!


Actually when the labs are here, they mostly alternate between taking catnaps and playing fetch with the tennis ball. They’ve got the General figured out to be a pushover!  All they have to do is push the ball in her direction and she takes the bait every time.


Actually, in a lot of respects she reminds me of my mother.  Mother didn’t much care for dogs.  She didn’t want one in the house.  Did I mention my mother was really smart?  At any rate, mother gravitated to small children the way the General gravitates to the two labs.  Mother was always ready to play with kids and the General is always online for playing with the dogs.


Of course the General is more adaptable and has fewer boundaries than my mom. She is good with both kids and dogs. She is driving to Sealy today to have a grandkid fix for the rest of the week.  Jake, the youngest grandson, has a field day on Wednesday and the General is going to be a tag along.


Actually, I think that has become a routine with her. It seems like she’s been a tag along on a field day with Jake once a year since they’ve been living in the promise land.  Did I mention that it is a joy to have grandkids two and a half hours away? That’s why I call it the promise land. When they were in North Carolina or California, it was rare that we had opportunity to visit.  Okay, so it really wasn’t that rare.  But we didn’t have the kind of access we have now. Now is better.


“So, where are you going?”  I couldn’t believe the General was asking, but I guess if Andrea and Kevin wanted us to keep their dogs, we might not be overstepping our boundaries to ask why?  They were going to a concert.


I had a flashback to years ago. Andrea and Kevin took a long weekend and went to Martha’s Vineyard to listen to the String Cheese Incident.  Frankly, I’ve never been to Martha’s vineyard and I’d be delighted to go on short notice, but I’d want to sightsee rather than stand in a crowd of way too many people listening to music that probably was way too loud.  Seriously, does it make sense to undergo the cost of travel to a premier destination just to hear a concert?


That’s not a rhetorical question.  I’ve been thinking the General and I could use a break.  “God as my witness”, I thought to myself one day last week: “Why not go to a concert?”  Yes, I was considering something stupid like flying to a premier location primarily to hear a concert, but to then take two or three days to look around.


There are two different groups I’d love to hear. Actually, there were three, but Neil Diamond has cancelled his concert tour due to health reasons. Trust me, he was on top of my list. When I’m in the Miata with the top down, I can assure you the car talk radio is blaring with the sound of “I Am ,I Said”.  The song was written by Neil Diamond and you’ll never make me believe it isn’t autobiographical.  There is way too much emotion wrapped up in the words for it strictly to be coincidental.


One of the groups on my short list is a group we’ve seen before. We discovered Celtic Thunder quite by accident on a PBS broadcast in our hotel room in Reno, NV about ten years ago.  We’ve been fans ever since. Of course, I’d prefer to hear them in Ireland, but I’d welcome the opportunity to take three or four days and track them down wherever they are performing.


Recently a friend introduced me to the Avett brothers. I had never heard of them either. I don’t get out much. Actually she made me aware of a song entitled “No Hard Feelings” and I can’t get the song out of my head.  It, too, is a song stockpiled with emotion and the storyline could go a hundred different directions.  There is something about it that resonates with a thoughtful reflection of life in the sense that life is a gift not to be held on to too tightly. I’d really like to catch one of their concerts.  By the way, you can’t do that impromptu. Their concerts are sold out weeks, if not months, in advance.


So my daughter surprised me on Sunday afternoon by acknowledging that she is a fan of the Avett Brothers and has been for several years. She has some of their music downloaded on her iPhone.  You’d think she could previously have shared important stuff like that with me over dinner. Well, I guess you could say she did.


My daughter previously worked with Apple and was an Apple representative assigned responsibility for working directly with a national retailer that sold Apple products.  Consequently, she made routine trips to Minnesota to the company’s headquarters to visit with key staff.  She said that once shortly before a scheduled meeting was to begin, everyone was already in the room and all were startled by the sound of music.


Apparently, the “dark Lutherans” (Not my phrase – I heard it from Garrison Keillor in Wobegon Boy) that live in Minnesota weren’t quite as eclectic in their musical taste as my daughter.  No knowing where the music was coming from, everyone intuitively reached for their phone (Apple of course) to determine if they were the source of the entertainment.  As it turned out, Andrea’s phone was the one providing the sound. It, too, was a song made popular by the Avett Brothers.  The song was entitled: “I and Love and You”.


Andrea said she immediately had he thought: “Oh No, what if the song had been from one from Charlie Daniels?” Somehow, “I and Love and You” seemed easier to explain than “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”


Andrea and Kevin have a fairy eclectic taste in music. A couple of years ago they took us to see Aaron Neville in concert. The man is seventy-seven years old but  belts out the blues like there is no tomorrow.  Of course, until then I had never heard of Aaron Neville before.  I really do need to broaden my exposure to any number of music venues.


On a bright note, before our visit was over Andrea and Kevin invited us to go with them to the concert at the end of August.  The venue is close to Canyon Lake and they are planning to stay in an Air B&B. We’ll go to the concert and still get home in time to take care of the labs. We will enjoy the sound of music.


All My Best!