Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mom's Honesty

The Music bounced off the surrounding buildings. It ricocheted off the trees… and then to the back of your lawn chair… before bouncing off the person’s head in back of you then to the front of you. It was everywhere. In fact it was too loud and too weird for me. Something happened to me on the way to the Park Concert – I became really old. At least that is what I felt like last night as I nursed a coffee at Tim Horton’s in the Post Park Concert.

Whoa – back up a little and let me share where we were as “old” people.

In Peterborough on Wednesday evenings and Saturday evenings our city holds its “Peterborough Summer Festival of Lights”. It is an outdoor concert in the Del Crary Park on George Street….right beside Little Lake.

Last evening the concert featured “Jim Witter” and his band in “The Music of Our Lives” with the opening act as “The Kitchen” – another band from some place in Ontario.

I sat together with 5 other “old” people that I know well. We were “Old” friends, enjoying a night of music and fresh air – on the lakeside and surrounded by thousands of other people in their own lawn chairs.

In our small group we had Terry and Marion, Marion’s mom, my mom, Alida and me in one row of lawn chairs. In front of us and behind us were other small groups clustered in small units all over the park… maybe 2500 people. For the most part the majority of the audience was like us… older and perhaps retired or almost. We had come together because of good advertisements that promised music of the 60s – 70s & 80s.

The opening act was way off somewhere different than I was. This was my first and last experience with “The Kitchen”. Putting it simply I didn’t catch or understand one word “the lead singer” sang. But then he couldn’t sing – at least I thought that to myself and then I leaned over and said it to Alida. He was warbling off somewhere in weird land. I think I recognized one song but the words were lost in noise. Alida shouted her comment back to me… “if they didn’t try to sing or use words it might be okay”.

I looked at my friend Terry five lawn chairs away. He was laughing at my reaction. He had a hold of his throat until his face turned red and then stuck his finger down his throat. We laughed insanely at each other’s facial grimacing… but couldn’t hear what the other was saying.
We stayed through “The Kitchen” I think because the guy kept saying, just two more songs until Jim Witter comes out here.

But when Jim came out it was almost the same. It was loud and the words were barely legible through the beat that continue to bounce off buildings and lawn chairs and heads all around me.

I think we made it to until about 9:30 PM before I had to lean over to Alida and ask her if she needed a coffee at a quiet Tim Horton’s coffee shop.

There from near the rear of the audience walked a small parade of “old” people, me, my wife and my mom at 87 with her walker.(Terry and Marion and her mom stayed on – getting value for their dollar I think)

As we came closer to our vehicle the noise was a little less. My mom made a statement that was brilliant and so true, “One thing good about this is – it didn’t cost anything to get in.” I started to laugh and at this point I could here my own laughter. Then mom said one more powerful statement… “I sure didn’t need these hearing aids tonight!” I laughed even more.

The park was full of more old people that still sat there waiting for a song that they might know. “Old” had happened for 80% of the audience. I am convinced that most were there to conduct a self examination of their own memory loss… and personally failed as they couldn’t even understand the words let alone remember the songs.

Whoa – this was a real life, modern story of the ancient one about “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Remember that one? Where a tailor sold the Emperor a bill of goods on the wonderful cloth the tailor had. The Emperor being a powerful, proud and vain man had the tailor make him new and beautiful clothes out of the invisible threads. The result was that the Emperor was actually naked and paraded through the city with his new outfit on. The tailor walked away smiling with all his new cash and going down in history as the greatest “used car salesman” ever!

Remember the little boy in the story that questioned his parents I assume, “Why does the Emperor have no clothes on?” It was then that the crowd and maybe even the Emperor saw the stupidity of it all and the way that everyone had been taken.

I wanted to stand up last night and shout, “The Emperor has no clothes on!” but no one would have heard me. Too funny! I looked down at my friend Terry and he had his eyes closed. How could he sleep through this!? Maybe he was thinking that if he closed his eyes he wouldn’t see the Emperor.

Alida followed mom’s comment by saying, “I can’t believe that all those “old” people are still sitting there. They are older than us!”

I don’t know that I can draw a deep spiritual meaning out of this musical experience yet. I am sure that one will come… I am waiting, waiting, and waiting.

Ah yes – there is one! Or even two!! Read the dumb add before you go to something like this. When it tells you that an opening act is called “The Kitchen” and nothing more… even the graphic designer and advertisers were giving you a hint… they don’t know either!

When you can’t understand you can leave. You are not being culturally illiterate – you are being honest – this is not for you and the Emperor on stage may well be naked.

Apologies are offered here to Miss Florence Reuber – who is long gone to heaven now. In 1974 in Walkerton, Ontario, and our small church with its loud music… Florence would stand when we stood to sing gustily and with many loud instruments… with her fingers in her ears. It was just too loud for Florence – but she was old – everyone knew that!

Florence can you show me how to insert my fingers in my ears. You were like mom – just being honest.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

1 comment:

Brenda said...

Thanks Murray--We almost joined you last night in the park. But decided in the end we liked the bird-songs out back & so stayed put.

Now I know what we didn't "miss" !