Sunday, June 05, 2005

“Who cares?!!!” read the blank wall clock with the numbers in a heap pile at the bottom by where the six should be.

Below, the men and I sit at the counter, perched on auto company endorsed bar stools, not caring about the time either. In some amount of time, we’ll be playing our instruments in the back garage for a while. But, at an indefinite moment, we are enjoying the bantering and life/wife assessments going on.

“Yep, did ya notice that it’s the city-wide yard sale out there?”

“No wonder my wife wanted to come to town. She loves finding a bargain and saying, ‘See these beautiful lime shoes I got for just .25?’” My dad makes his wife-voice high and nasal sounding to make his buddies laugh.

“My wife hit ‘em early this morning too. No tellin’ what’s waitin’ for me at home!” said a man who lost his hand in a tractor baler.

“My wife never has gone to one; she’s more the type to pay $50 for a pair of shoes and sell ‘em for .50!” says K. who is the quintessential time care-less store clerk. He’s always smiling and fills our coffee cups whenever enough gaps in the moments transpire.

I then say something, and they relate it to me living in the city (really a medium sized university town). One old man who's here to listen to the music, whenever it decides to begin, relates that comment to his life: “I remember between 1978-1984 we bought a house in Cabool [a small town of about 1,200]. I almost went insane. Nothing but sidewalks and concrete!” Thus, the conversation went to the joys of country living for a while and the perils of the city, or, er, town.

When some time passes, Dad and I walk back to the rear garage where J. sits waiting for us. Although his garage is shut on Saturdays (primarily because he doesn’t want his playing to be interrupted; I’ve seen him ignore customers before when he was deep in a tune), J explains that he doesn’t sit much in the front of the store because “once the air condition blows on you, you always want it to blow on you. I’ve even got a good one in that truck of mine that I’ve never turned on.”

So, we sit back in the hot garage (does have a good wind crosscurrent, J defends) and open our cases. G., the tall guitarist, comes in with a tank top on and banters immediately. We’ve heard he’s been up all night with a lady. No matter, it’s time to play, which we do.

Old men appear at different times to be our audience. Dad and I sing, play, pick, grin for probably three hours. K. fills our coffee cups. J says that he likes each song we play. G’s lady friend surprises him with a visit, and he appears embarrassed. We’d tease him, but maybe he’d sulk and get mad. It’s just funny enough that she showed. I’m in blissful TVLand, or Mitford, or Pleasantville.

It begins again to seep into me there: a desire to stay. We could form a real group. I could take care of my parents as they age. I could become my frugal mother who loves simple lovely things. I could vegetable garden and can. I could live on a farm away from sidewalks. I could learn how to fiddle since we don’t have one. I could have batches of kittens. My husband could be happy giving up the corporate life and trading it in for overalls. Or, okay, a franchise of some sort. My son could be better in a smaller school. My girl could meet some good country boy.

Ah, how long will it last now that I’m home? I’ll play with the vision for a while and then let it go where it’s supposed to. Who cares about the timing of it anyway? What will be, will be. For now, I think I'll practice some bluegrass.

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