Monday, March 9, 2009

The Right Side of the Sod

On Saturday night I went to a concert – something unheard of since around the time cable TV last lived in the Artsy household – but John Wort Hannam was in town and my mom said she’d take the boy for the night so I could go.

I’ve heard the expression “catholic tastes” before – what catholic means when it has a lower-case “c” is all-inclusive, general or universal. (I remember it because that’s quite exactly the opposite of what Catholic means to me when it has an upper-case “c”.) Anyway, when it comes to music I have catholic tastes. I’ll listen to everything. John Wort Hannam is a newbie to me – he’s an Alberta guy who sings this lovely country/folk stuff about everyday things. He’s got three cd’s out, so you can go get yourself one if you’re curious. Or, listen to CKUA where they play him quite regularly. (As regularly as they play anything on CKUA, anyway. They have catholic tastes in music, too.)

The concert was great. The place was fabulous, full of interesting-looking people having a good time, small enough to be intimate and full enough to be lively, but you could get yourself two beers during the intermission and not spend your whole time standing in line at the bar. I had a lot of time to people watch, because I went a bit early to get a good seat and I went by myself. (What can I say? I’m good company.)

I have this idea of myself: a sort of future me, a woman in the distance, and when I see someone who looks like a future me, I pay attention so that I’ll know when I get there. These women in the distance are self assured, they are confident and successful and at home in their own skin. They wear interesting jewelry and they don’t bother to hide the gray in their hair. They tell jokes and they laugh a lot. They have good friends, they live their lives exactly as they please. They do things on their own terms, and I imagine that they are beloved by many people – that they live rich lives. There were a lot of future selves at the concert, which is a good sign. I am on my way.

The best part of the show was this: there was a table reserved for a birthday party. The birthday person was Arthur, who turned 88 on Saturday and was celebrating with his friends at a concert. After the intermission, the band played “happy birthday” and a bar full of people sang best wishes to Arthur, who waved his arms at us and looked pleased as punch. The next song the band played was one of my favourites from “Dynamite and Dozers” – called “Above Ground”. And wouldn’t you know it, but 88 year old Arthur, who remembers a worse depression than this one, who probably fought in a war and came home again, who lived (I hope) as well as he could with what he was given, got up and danced with his lady, in front of all of us, grinning and having the time of his life.

I hope that one day I will become that woman I want to be, and that on my 88th birthday I will dance to the band in the company of my friends, as alive as I ever have been.

Singing oh, oh, oh , oh let your voice sound
Every day's a good day when it's above ground
Every day's a good day when it's above ground.

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