From left field…

Things are slow at work this time of year, which is why i choose not to burn my vacation time.  Always best to use your discretionary leave when things are busy*.  i’m putting in a solid 5-6 hours a day.  It’s quiet.  i read online newspapers and catch up on e-mail.  People bring in cookies.  i get paid.  Life is good.
Today on my lunch hours hour, i was getting a manicure at Big Gay Chuck’s Big Gay Hair Salon, where Tonya, my tattooed, biker nail tech, does her business.  The salon was hopping with women getting gussied up for the holidays.  Chuck was playing a holiday music mix, and none other than James Brown was gettin’ his holiday mojo on when i came in for my appointment.
Tonya and i chatted a bit, and then she was exchanging holiday “I’ve still gotta’s” with one of the other clients.  Talking about a roomful of presents to wrap, stocking stuffers yet to be purchased, and meals to be planned and prepared… No longer my world, so i sort of zoned out…
And then i heard this…

Go ahead and hit the play button – you’ll likely have to go to YouTube to see it…  i’ll wait…
i am, at my foundation, a hillbilly.   Although i’ve had some musical training, and have exposed myself** to the fine arts on numerous occasions, i’m generally not a huge fan of classical music.  i can listen to it, appreciate it – certainly a live performance can inspire me.  But when it comes to classical music appreciation, i’m a noob…
But there is this piece – the love theme from Cinema Paradiso.  My father’s favorite film – we watched it together, and cried together.  It reminded him of his family.  Of the village in Sicily where his parents were born.  The place he was never able to visit.  
When he died in 2002, i had to have it played for his visitation.  My daughter taught me about Limewire, and i stayed up all night downloading the music i needed.
And i stumbled upon this version.  Itzhak Perlman makes that fiddle wail in agony. This piece overwhelms me.  It never fails to make me weep…
Tonya started laughing when she noticed the chicken skin on my arms as she buffed my nails.  Asked me if i was cold.  As the song finished, she looked up and saw me crying…
“What’s the matter, hon?”
“Nothing.  i still miss my Dad… and sometimes it just sneaks up on me.”

By the time i got around to planning our trip to Sicily?  He was too sick to go…


* Yet another reason i am astonished that my organization continues to have me serve as a mentor for the young scientists and engineers.  Do they really want me to train the next generation?
** No.  Not at the philharmonic.  But i have gotten partially nekkid on stage in the name of the arts…

38 thoughts on “From left field…

  1. I posted The Judds doing “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” on my Facebook page this afternoon. That song* was my grandmother’s favorite. So much so we sang it at her funeral in June of 1993. I still miss her and get those same goosebumps on my skin whenever I hear it.

    Totally feeling you this holiday season.


    *Not necessarily the version by the Judds but they do it exceptionally well.

    • i love the idea of singing a favorite song – christmas or otherwise – to celebrate a passing! wonder if my kids will have people singing “Oh, Baby You! You Got What I Neeeeeeed” at mine?

      you’ve had a rough run of things, Mr. TAG. hope things are brigher for you in 2011…

  2. I’m so sorry, DF. He sounds like a sweetie. I wish he could have gone to Sicily, too, now.

    I think I’m a hillbilly at heart. I’m clueless about classical music, and I hate opera. Did I mention my sister-in-law is an opera singer? I have to go to these things all the time. They can last up to 4 hours! Yeesh.

    • you’re a shrink. i have serious “daddy issues”. probably the key reasons why i’ll never commit to another human, and will die alone.

      self-awareness is over-rated, by the way.

      i can do opera – but only if it’s “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Tommy”, or “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. i did see a good production of “Porgy and Bess” not that long ago… but the 4 hours of big voices? ouch…

    • sorry. my turn to trip down ‘musical memory lane’. aren’t the kids just pure beauty when they are asleep? even in their 20’s, i can STILL see their toddler faces when i look at my kids asleep now. creeps them out, though, when they catch me doing it…

      • you are very right about the way they look sleeping… and i can’t wait for them to get older and tell me to cut shit out so i can tell them that i used to change their diapers and wipe their ass so i can do whatever the hell my senile old ass wants. 🙂

  3. I’ve had more stuff in my eye this week than I care to admit. I guess once the hollow is carved out, it’s always easier to fill it with tears. Merry Christmas, daisyfae.

    • “Gussied up” is a colloquial (ie: “hillbilly”) phrase that means “to make beautiful”. In cases where the fundamental woman underneath is somewhat devoid of physically attractive traits, it can also be known by the more specific “puttin’ lipstick on dat pig”.

      Happy to translate for you anytime, good sir!

  4. Music and scents provide for me those strong reactions. When my brother in law died unexpectedly at the early age of 51, my husband I were put in charge of the memorial slide show, so to this day I can’t listen to Tim McGraw, “Can’t tell me nothing” and “Old Friend” without blubbering. But on the same note, I’m proud to be a part of that event in a way that makes the moments linger.
    While listening to Mr Perlman the wind must have come up, because I got something in both of my eyes.

    • for about a year after he died, i had a CD of the music i collected in my car. i played it when i needed to cry. worked like a charm, and i nearly wrecked on far too many occasions, before i finally stopped beating myself up with that CD…

  5. 31 years and I miss my Mom EVERY single day.
    Like you, sometimes it just sneaks up on you.
    However, for me, it’s been the death of my brother that sneaks up on me the most ….. we were very close, and it’s only been 5 years.

    I had to turn this off …. I was “misting” far more than a proper lady (?????) should!
    (Yeah, I had a hard time typing ‘proper lady’!)

    Have yourself a very Merry Christmas Ms. DaisyFae!

    • grief is a pesky ninja, isn’t it? and i’m done listening to it myself for a bit. spent far too much time bashing myself with it last night, and need to be done with it. my eyes are puffy and we can’t have that for the holiday photos, can we?

      merry christmas, ms. fyre!

  6. I don’t miss my parents yet. They are still here. And I’m afraid our relationship is such that I probably won’t really miss my Dad when he is gone. It will more like breathing a sigh of relief, and blessing him on his way, hoping his next life on this planet will be more peaceful. I truly envy all of you who actually miss your parents, I miss having had a childhood that would have made me miss them. . . Still I love them as well as I can, preferably in short doses at longish intervals. They will be here for Christmas breakfast and gift exchange. I’m already practicing my deep breathing and serene expression.

    • if there is anything good in me, it’s through my father. the bad stuff? i own ALL of that… i was lucky that i had a good relationship with him. with mom? it’s quite different. i love her. we have very little in common, other than history and genetics… good luck with the holidays. i try to keep my engagement short on such occasions.

  7. I’m sorry. I couldn’t listen to that whole performance, and not because it was making me so emotional. That had just a lot more more portamento and vibrato than I can take. There was an awful lot of sliding around, which effectively masked some of the really horrible shifts he made. My teacher would have kicked me in the shins for that kind of shenanigans. But I was never famous, either.

    Anyhow, I can’t stand “The Little Drummer Boy” at dirge speed either. My preferred holiday music comes from people like Mannheim Steamroller. It’s got to have a beat, man.

    • i’ll retreat behind my ‘hillbilly deflector shield’ and say that none of the criticisms register for me, because i’m oblivious and untrained. but one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. mannheim steamroller leaves me cold. that’s why there’s lots of music, i suppose!

  8. Lost my daughter (20) in April and thought we were out of the woods until November, when we lost my mom (83). Got on JetBlue to go to her funeral and they played Band Perry “If I Die Young”, which was my daughter’s memorial song.

    There are some flight personnel who were treated to a 6 foot, 300 pound bearded bear, weeping piteously in 3A. Can’t hardly even think about what we’re going to play for Mom at her memorial. Maybe something from South Pacific?

    Be well, dear Daisyfae. Merry Christmas.

    • john – my deepest sympathy on the loss of your daughter, and mother. although burying a parent hurts, it is more within the natural order of things. there is no way i can conceive of the grief that must accompany the loss of a child… watched the video tribute you put together for your daughter, and it was lovely. sending that 6′, 300 pound bearded bear of a man the biggest hug i can conjure up over the interwebs…

  9. It’s amazing how music or even a scent can take us back. Whenever I miss my grandma, I take a whiff of her perfume. Then it’s as if she’s in the room with me. For a little while, anyway.

    • i have strong scent memories as well… lilac (mom’s lilac bush was my favorite as a child), honeysuckle (before it was a weed, i loved the smell of it) and Polo cologne (high school gay-boy crush wore it like a french whore…)

  10. This has nothing to do with the post Ms. Daisy i’m just sending you a big virtual X-mas hug from your favorite (i think) semi-reformed derelict ex-weed dealer. cheers and happy x-mas.

    • kono, baby, you ARE my favorite in many ways – but you have to add the “Rogue, scoundrel, idiot savant, postmodern light bulb changer” bits if you really wanna discriminate… i DO know a few other semi-reformed derelict ex-weed dealers… and that’s a GOOD thing! Merry Christmas! Hugs coming right back atcha!

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