another day in paradise

I was not so invisible at church yesterday.

Several people sought me out and talked to me about stuff.

First one person poured her heart out to me about very private stuff.  Then several people complimented me on the music for the day.

The opening hymn was one of those  fluffy Christian poppy songs called “Circle the table.” My bass player showed up, so I felt able to do it on banjo. I thought about Cat Stevens as I did it.

Heh.  Just after playing through the Arvo Pärt organ piece which was very quiet, I walked up to the front of the church and told the congregation that the opening hymn might not be too familiar to them, so I was going to sing the first verse through once and then we could repeat it together.

At the coffee hour a woman sought me out and thanked me for doing it that way. She said she found it helpful.

I spent a good deal of time with Beethoven on the piano yesterday afternoon.

Reading up on Sonata Theory inspires me to look at the pieces they mention and think about other pieces that I know and love. In his Opus 10, no 3 Sonata in D minor, he has a slow movement that I find beautiful and interesting.  Beethoven apparently commented that this movement required a subtle adjustment in tempo every few measures to fit the music. In addition, in the book I am reading (Elements of Sonata Theory by Hepokoski & Darcy), this movement is cited as an example of a slow Sonata form movement complete with exposition, development and recap. Who knew? Once again I learn that one needs one’s brains as one rehearses.

brain's electrical signals

I also rehearsed some of the challenging piano music I am planning to perform soon.

This would be the Decruck saxophone sonata and the Mendelssohn piano trio in D minor, first movement. I don’t often have this kind of energy on Sunday afternoon but I did yesterday.

Today is Eileen’s 58th birthday.

As I write this she has not risen for the day. I have her presents wrapped and scattered all over the kitchen table, including an old fashioned watering can and a long handled square tipped shovel. Such a romantic.

I read my Dad’s little book he was writing about his brother Jonny all the way through yesterday.

Frank Robbins Batman

Jonny is the only living brother of the three of them(Dad, Dave and Jonny). I don’t think I have read Dad’s book on him before. My copy seems to be an unfinished draft with many notes in Dad’s handwriting and a questionnaire that  might possible have answers written in by my uncle Jonny.

I always find insights into my Dad and my family of origin and myself when I read these books of Dad’s.

He wrote several in his last years.

Our People – the story of his and Mom’s families
Thru Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: Chronology and memoirs – his own story
Family Pacesetter: stories of David Benjamin Jenkins – his oldest brother’s story
The Middler and I: stories of Jonathan Robert Jenkins – my uncle Jonnie’s story

Not exactly sure if he finished Uncle Jonnie’s book. My copy has lots of notes and breaks off after the third chapter. There is an outline for five more chapters including a summary. I should like to read this if there exists a copy. But I’m pretty sure that he didn’t finish it.

I hadn’t thought about the reaction of his brothers and their families to Dad’s project while he was doing it. Now I suspect they weren’t a hundred per cent happy about the whole deal. I remember seeing my Uncle Dave’s wife, Marge, receiving her copy of Dave’s story the day of his funeral. She was gracious but reserved about it. At least that’s the way I remember it.  And it may have been on a previous visit instead of the day of Dave’s funeral.

Uncle Dave died in full blown dementia. His dementia was one of those post-op by-pass dementias that results from a procedure of stopping blood to the brain during the operation (if I understand this correctly). A procedure they no longer do. He and my Aunt Marge were born on the exact same day. I remember their 80th birthday vividly because much of the extended family gathered for it. Dave was the center of attention, but I was fascinated to meet my cousins again as adults. I have two cousins, both first born males of my uncles, who were born the same year as me (1951). This is also the year my grandfather’s father  (My dad’s dad called Granpap) died. My two cousins, Fred and Allan, were born with minutes of each other. Silly Jenkins trivia I guess.

Anyway at my Uncle Dave’s 80th (it was really mostly his party), it was fascinating to see copies of myself standing around doing what I do: observing, feeling misgivings and out of place, and loving the extended family. And of course we all looked like middle aged versions of our dads, the three brothers.

We met at a motel in Ohio. I remember after all the family input I couldn’t sleep and went over to the truck stop nearby to get batteries or something for my CD player in the middle of the night. A trucker walked in and we exchanged greetings. When I asked him how he was doing, he grinned and said, “Just another day in paradise.”


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