Sunday, September 18, 2016

Almost 38 Years

This is the weekend we would have celebrated our 38th anniversary of being together, of being in love, of sharing our lives.  We were never sure of the date when he got off the train at the Lancaster station.  We knew it was in mid-September, and since it was only rather shortly thereafter we both knew we would be together forever, we always set aside the third weekend in September to honor and celebrate our lives together.

It's been two months now.  I'm still wandering around like a tourist lost in an unknown place, a place I never thought I'd be, wouldn't want to be if I could choose.  I would like to have my money back and go home, but the agency is closed.  It all seems

After her cocker spaniel died, my sister vowed she would never have another pet.  It was something I understood very well.  You give a living creature so much of your love and attention and happiness and care and then it goes and dies on you.  She's kept that vow.

I understand that.  A pet finds its way into the core of our lives.  Our love for that living being is unique.  It is a love we do not offer to everyone we know.  It is a special love. And I will say that I see it as similar to the love we give our spouse.  It's not an absolute comparison; neither is it so far from the truth.

Jack and I had our own private, personal commitment ceremony in the living room one night.  We knew we loved each other.  We knew that we wanted to be together, stay together, live together forever.  We promised to help each other, to do our best to be worthy of each other's love, respect, and odd ideas.  We promised not to run out on the other just because the relationship wasn't fun.  We promised to share.

No one witnessed that moment in our lives, but I think it is fair to say that anyone who saw us together intuitively knew about it.  I think people could feel it as they could with other couples who are simply devoted to each other.  Sickness and health, richer or poorer, successes and failures, easy and impossible times...I think people could feel that commitment even if they didn't see a ring.  I could hear it in their reaction when I proudly told them how long we were together.

Jack Veasey died two months ago.  This would have been our 38th anniversary of being together, of sharing our lives.  I miss him.  I keep thinking he'll be down from the bathroom soon.  I keep thinking he'll walk through the door, happy after an evening of poetry.  I keep thinking that he's on the bed watching TV.  I keep thinking that when I turn around I'll see him.  I keep thinking, "I'll have to tell Jack that.  He'll get a kick.." and then I remember.  I remember good things, proud moments, times I'd never had experienced without him.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

My Music Is Back

One of those "Two Roads Converged in a Tulgey Woods" stories.
When friends came over to help clean out the house after Jack died, I saw the incredible number of LPs and 45s both of us collected when we were younger persons. I kept two a complete system and one in need of a pre-amp, which I still have. I've been giving some consideration to putting the system together and giving it a try.
Wednesday was Old Farts' Eye Exam Discount Day at one of the chain optics stores. Since I am bus-dependent, I arrived early and went to Guitar Center. I haven't been there in years (no reason to go), so I decided to see what has and hasn't changed in the last several years. Plus, a set of headphones is considering bidding me farewell, so I wanted to price a new set. As it turned out, they had a very good AKG set and a turntable that you can plug in said headphones and enjoy the music or plug into the computer and make .mp3s from cuts on the LPs. And it was all on sale for the holiday. I took advantage of the sale price.
I haven't tried to make .mp3s yet, but I plugged the headphones into the turntable and had a great, sentimental, happy, sad, and OMG reunion time this afternoon. It may mean I'll never come out of the house again.
What was the first thing I wanted to hear on my return to my records? That actually took a little thinking. One of the most influential TV shows on my life was a 1962 special called Julie (Andrews) and Carol (Burnett) at Carnegie Hall. For some reason I noticed the orchestra, bought the record, and listened to it forever. The orchestra (that is, the orchestration) added to the fun without getting in the way. Great arranging. Also, I love Julie and Carol; it was nice to hear them again, pretty much as I remembered.
Second album? Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles. It was one of the few albums, especially pop albums, that I could listen to top to bottom. Most albums I bought because I liked one or two of the songs; I knew of no clunkers on Sgt. Pepper then and I still pretty much feel that way. It was somehow refreshing to hear the old familiar pops and scratches. I bought the CD to replace my LP of a lot of my records, and I missed those pops and scratches. I knew where they were and they were part of the song. CDs were pop and scratch free, but there's a sterility to digital reproduction that is fine for a lot of people. I prefer the warmer, friendlier vinyl surface.
My grandmother Walker had a 78rpm record player. She had a few records that I, as a young child, was allowed to play. The problem with 78s, of course, was the amount of time per side. Classical music in particular was not the 78s' best friend. She had a recording of The Nutcracker: Suite which I adored. To this day, when I hear "Waltz of the Flowers," I can hear where the break in the music was so you could flip the record and listen to the rest of the music.
I've had "conversations" with sound buddies and opinionated friends. They contend digital is the only way to go and/or there's no difference in the sound quality between vinyl and digits. No. Sorry. Now that I'm back to a turntable, there IS a difference and my preference goes to vinyl, pops and scratches and all. For my personal listening pleasure. Obviously, digital works better for people on the go and for music and effects in plays. But for me, for the joy and rest and comfort of kicking back and listening to the music I love, I'm so glad to have access to vinyl again.