Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This is Not Our Fate


Forty-two years ago today, I was sitting in a cafe in my hometown when a carload of friends showed up. I'd never been much of a party-er, but some of them were. Truth be told, I had stayed home most nights and watched Bobby Darin and Dean Martin's variety shows on television. In my wilder moments I fancied myself a flower child. When that car showed up I was somewhere in between.

My friend, Stan, jumped out followed by Ronnie and a few others, then Stan admitted to being "stoned." I had an inkling what that meant but had never experienced it, yet. I was a little taken aback, as hearing that Stan was stoned had never entered my mind. Yet, there it was, and he seemed so happy! How could I not be happy for him?  He said there was going to be a party at Ronnie's. Did we want to go? We (we being a story for another time) decided 'why not?'

We arrived shortly after the party had started. As we walked through the front door, Ronnie, party host, informed us that Jimi Hendrix had died. Although I wasn't a huge Hendrix fan, I knew it was more bad news for the music scene. On the wall behind Ronnie was a poster of Hendrix, colorful and still full of life. It was an odd juxtaposition. I can still see myself standing there, not sure how to take it all in.

Leap ahead many years, we're talking twenty-five years, and I'm living out at my farmhouse in Ansel. My youngest son, Coleman, is eleven years old. He's just started to pick up the guitar my older son, Trevor, had left for him to mess around on. I'm standing in the kitchen, as I seem to be doing a lot of in my life, and he walks in, guitar in hand, and asks me to listen to something. Then he plays, note for elongated note, Jimi's version of "The Star-Spangled Banner," Woodstock style. I was elated! And then I was concerned. My son, precocious thing that he was, had just escaped my clutches and there was no turning back. He now has a band of his own, has had since he was thirteen.

During the time I lived in Ansel, I had Jimi's "All Along the Watchtower" as my answering machine message, and I do mean answering machine. Remember when we had machines with a cord to the phone and a tiny little cassette tape for taping and receiving messages?  I still have mine. Don't ask why. Anyway, during that time, I had my first and only colonoscopy. One day, while I was at work, the doctor who did the colonoscopy (I thought he was kind of cute, which didn't match well with the whole colonoscopy thing) called and left a message on it. First, he told me he was a Hendrix fan and that he liked my answering machine song and then he followed it with nothing but good news.

And there you have it. Perhaps the only Jimi Hendrix and colonoscopy story you'll ever read. Aren't you glad I got that over with?

Here's Jimi ...






I'd like to dedicate this post to Stan. He left this world several years ago now, complications from diabetes. I've mentioned him in a previous post. He was a gorgeous thing. His mother was Native American, his father, Cuban. Before he left, we became even better friends, graduating from the same college on the same day in the spring of '75. No, we never had a "relationship," but we did love each other in that best of all possible worlds. What would he think of my mentioning him along with Jimi and colonoscopies? I think he's smiling right now. I know he is. And he's very happy for me on This September day.


35 comments:

  1. Jimi and colonoscopies made me laugh. Thanks for that!

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  2. My Dr wanted me to get one, I said no, heard to many horror stories. Love this track ... I'm sure they're all smiling now, knowing life is but a joke! but enjoy it the best you can anyway! You have a great talent to combine those stories :))

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    1. Bob! I would never have one again. I see things veeery differently now. Yeah, I like those lines, too.

      Thanks !

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  3. There is something about this post that is just charming. It's like a tone poem and a memory of a time gone... and it feels happy. It's all over the place, but it's grounded in Woodstock, flower children and Jimi Hendrix, a town called Ansel and, of all things, a colonoscopy. Amazing!
    Casette tapes in answering machines... wow! I do remember them. The first "never miss a call", state of the art, devise.
    I hope "gorgeous" Stan reads this from the great beyond... happy and stoned.

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    1. Thank you! I sat down this morning, and out it came. I have no doubt that Stan knows about this post. He stops in now and then. :)

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  4. A Dylan song originally. I have a version on my MIDI file and laugh listening to this since I play some synth keyboard similar to his lyrics into my sequence, so it stayed with me.The Summer of Love was tarnished with some abusive deaths.I would say a favorite Hendrix song.

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    1. Yes, they both did fine versions. It was a time of excess, but also a great opening of minds.

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  5. I have few regrets about my life, but one is that I never got to see Jimi Hendrix perform live.

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  6. Teresa your stories travel along twisting roads and it all fits so well. I wondered where I was going and bingo it ended with a mixture of laughs and sadness for your friend. Good post.

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    1. They can be a little convoluted, but I hope the payoff is worth it. Thanks, Barbara!

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  7. Great story of Hendrix memories. I remember listening to him a lot when I was 15. My older sister had an apartment and I would go to visit her and they would always be playing Hendrix. He had raw talant and it was a very electric time.
    BTW...your son sounds very talented!

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    1. Thanks, Cat! It was an electric time, that's for certain. My son and his friend/bandmate write all their own songs, very astute socially and politically young people. He seems to have come into this world with a host of talent, both musical and artistic. Both of my sons have these abilities, for which I'm very grateful.

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  8. Hi Teresa,

    42-years ago. Don't you just cringe when you begin a story that way. I know that I do. Still the memories remain vivid enough to write about no matter how many years have gone by.

    I don't know much about Hendrix except that he's an icon, but music has a way of embedding itself into our memories along with disconnected events in our lives.

    There is no turning back. My oldest is midway through college now, and while our relationship has changed over the years, I'd say that it keeps getting better.

    I had to Google you to find your blog. Should I fix the link back to you from today's comment on my blog?

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    1. Ray, I'm so glad you visited. Please do fix it if you can. I'm not very technically savvy. And yes, it is a bit cringe-worthy. but when I look at "time" it becomes less so. It's so very flexible and intangible, really. Wasn't it just yesterday? :)

      Many of my memories are tied to music, the soundtrack to my life. thanks again for stopping by. I'm glad I found your blog.

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  9. Dear Teresa, I just read Ray Colon's comments and your response and had a couple of thoughts that are part of your posting. One is that while some memories can be so elusive--things we really wish we could remember--some are so vivid. I've been writing about things that took place when I was eight. That's sixty-eight years ago. And yet I can remember it all as if someone painted the scene and gave it to me to treasure.

    The second thing that came to mind upon reading Ray's comment and your response is that there are triggers for our memories. For you, music is one of them. I'm not sure what the triggers are for me. But I"m going to consider that. I think that if I knew the answer I'd be a better writer for I could recall things that remain like mist in my mind. Thank you for this posting. Peace.

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    1. I have many images/scenes in my mind that I can easily describe, can see clearly, as though they just happened yesterday. How true are they? As true as anything. Music is a trigger most often, but ti can be a smell, a color, something I see in the world. Some of my stories have been sitting there, waiting to be told for a long time. I am enjoying reading your stories, too.

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  10. I was born five days after Jimi, and a month before Janis. They all seemed to be my family, and it was tough to lose them, but wonderful to know that they are still here, reborn in spirits like your beautiful son's. And I also send you Dee's usual blessing: peace. :-)

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    1. Oh, thank you, Jan. These icons of music will always be a part of our lives, and that's a pretty cool thing. I'm so glad music is a huge part of my son's life.

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  11. Time sure does fly, doesn't it??? What a funny story. At first I had a hard time figuring out where this story was going? then it all came together and I laughed and laughed. I miss that good ole music. Even oldies aren't really the oldies as I remember. There's so much more than the same ones they play again and again. Maybe an "oldie" should be the dj on an oldie program!

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    1. Hey TMoon, Recently, Wild Bill referred to it as stream-of-consciousness, so I'm going with that. :) The other day while driving I had the station on to the oldies and I realized the same station that once played oldies as I remember them was playing oldies I could not relate to. Jeeez. What's this world coming to?

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  12. It occurs to me that it might NOT be the only Jimi Hendrix/colonoscopy story I'll ever read. It's the Jimi Hendrix demographic that's getting drilled now, isn't it?

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    1. It had not occurred to me. You are absolutely right. Now I wonder how many other stories of mine will not be singular at all?? Mary Oliver is right. They are all Our stories.

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  13. I begin many-a-sentence with "more than 40 years ago . . . ", followed by a song or an event or some such thing. Time does fly by, and here we are, reading evocative blogs like yours when just yesterday we had messages on tapes and youthful experiences that stay imbedded in our minds. This is a wonderful post, Teresa, and I'm sure Stan is smiling.

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    1. And sometimes, I think it was a few weeks ago and I realize it was months.:) Thank you, Penny. I so love our connection.

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  14. Nice memories here. Hendrix was the best; raw, real, crazy. And my favorite quote from him is ""When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." How true. Thanks Teresa. This was really cool.

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  15. Hendrix was never one of my favorites growing up. I do consider him to be an icon and I loved his version of "The Star Spangled Banner. He is considered to be the greatest guitar player of all time. Personally I'm more of an Eric Clapton kind of guy.

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    1. Nor mine, but he sure could play the gi-tar. Eric has some soul, and a nice peacful sense to him. Thanks, Steven. :)

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  16. 'If six turned out be nine..that's just fine.' Amen, Brother Jimi.

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    1. :) Thanks for chiming in, Tony. Keep stoking the fires of truth and transparency!

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  17. I am pretty certain that Jimi and Janis and Jim were victims of a plot.

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