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Archive for October, 2016

Sphere

My favourite American is a lady named Lorraine from New York. In 1948 She met Max Gordon on Fire Island. She recognised him as the owner of the Village Vanguard (which showcased folk and beat poetry) and he recognised her as a well-known music aficionado. Max asked Lorraine on a date and she said she would agree only if he would put Thelonious Monk on the bill for a week. That week went by, and no one came. Lorraine said she needed another week. She pushed, and people came. Then the Village Vanguard kept Thelonious Monk as a regular act. Then the Village Vanguard became exclusively jazz. Then Lorraine and Max got married. When Max died in 1989, Lorraine closed the Village Vanguard for one day. The next day, she re-opened it and assumed all operations. Today, Lorraine Gordon is 94, and still makes all the decisions about the place.

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So I went to this cemetery. It was a long haul! A bus that services the cities north of Yonkers. I got off in Hartsdale. Far. And the cemetery is a walk away even from the bus stop. And I had just run a marathon. It was a pilgrimage. I went to the office and presented my list of people to the secretary. She printed a map and gave order of who to see based on the assumption that I was driving. When I said I was on foot, the directions and arrangement changed and I lost track of who was where. So I set out a little clueless but certain that I would see everyone. The walk was pleasant in the morning sun. Towards the first stop, I walked over a pile of leaves that were being blown together by some caretakers. I felt that leaves for some reason would play a small part in my day, but that was a vague inkling of a thought. I went to the vicinity of the first spot on the map. Every grave in this place is the same: small, square plates on the ground, all the same size and shape. No order, except that they are all in rows. I didn’t really know who I was looking for, and read a few as I walked along. A particular spot didn’t look like the others; it appeared as though it was a sink-hole with a bunch of leaves that had gotten caught and overlooked by the caretakers. For the sake of curiosity, I felt compelled to investigate and I shoved away a few of the leaves, thinking that I would discover not a grave but a drain in the grass. It was Thelonious Monk! I cried. For joy, for humanity, and for where jazz has taken me.

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Yonkers, NY

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As I ran, I thought about so many things. About how my boat is from New York. About the Pennsylvania Dutch. About the old brownstones, the clapboard Victorians, clock towers, the Hudson River. About the fall colours in the cloudless, gusty sunshine. I ran the whole thing on feeling: checking in with myself as I went, mind vs body. I ran so strongly and effortlessly that the hills just rolled along under my feet. An Empirical State.

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Thanks

Visiting parents
Craigleigh Gardens
Frenchman’s Bay

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Life Is Short

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last SUNday

Three incidents over the weekend
In conjunction with the sighting of 3 rainbows on Sunday:
A collective sign of something
Profound simple true.

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