Saturday, November 24, 2007


It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving. She Who Must Be Obeyed, Elder Daughter, the Mistress of Sarcasm, and I are at Perimeter Mall, braving the post-Thanksgiving hordes. The ladies are looking at clothing; I’m up to my usual tricks - namely, blogging away at the local Apple store and playing with all the Techno-Toys. I lurves the Apple Store.

Hey, at least it keeps me out of the Godiva and Lindt shops. For a while, anyway.

As is our custom, we parked outside behind Nordstrom, the Class Act amongst Department Stores. Nordstrom often has live music in the form of a guy playing a grand piano; this being the Holiday Season, the piano player was supplemented by a guy on drums - playing discreetly, mind you - and a horn player.

The horn guy and I got into a conversation while he made a minor repair to his flugelhorn, a gorgeous brass-and copper affair. Then he picked up his silver trumpet and played a fine jazz version of “Greensleeves,” the piano player providing the melodic line as he improvised his way through the piece. Beautiful.

Elder Daughter came over and joined me, and we watched and listened for a few minutes, my arm around her shoulders.

As I observed the horn guy’s fingers flying over the valves, I thought back to a time many years ago, when Eli (hizzownself), the Poppa d’Elisson, was roughly the same age as this guy playing the trumpet. Early- to mid-thirties, thereabouts. I was a Little Guy back then, and I would watch in fascination as my Dad would play the trumpet.

Yes, he was a trumpet player, Eli was. Played during the summers in the Catskills, back when he was in his late teens, earning a few bucks and hanging out with the boys up in the mountains of Upstate New York. And even though he was a Married Guy now, a real Family Man, he would still pick up the horn and knock out a few tunes every so often.

He would set up in what would eventually become my kid brother’s bedroom, unfolding his music stand and spreading newspapers on the floor to catch the Spit-Valve drippings. And I would watch his every move, hear his every sound, in complete and utter fascination.

Oh, I was so young then, and the world so full of possibilities.

Four, nay, five decades have passed, and three of those possibilities are walking around right now. I do believe that I will - perhaps after a quick trip to the Lindt store - find them.

Ahh, the phone is buzzing. They, it seems, have found me. And I am smiling.

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