The weather has turned cool here, but as I write this there is not a cloud in the sky and it will be warming back up into the 60s today. This is what I love about south central Texas – there might not be such thing as fall, but when winter comes, it generally comes in mild doses and feeds it to you in bite size portions with breaks for sunshine and flannel shirts.
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately after so many years of relentlessly pushing onward; I don’t know, maybe it’s the colder weather, or just that feeling in the bones looking into the autumn of a life. Maybe it’s both and the fall takes on different meaning when you are the late summer. The first half or so introduces new paths and discoveries; the second trims away – little by little… things you don’t do again, faces you won’t see anymore, retired old jokes, forgotten memories, responsibilities resolved, quests conquered.
One may choose a path of simplicity at any stage, but at some point life will begin to clear your plate for you. It is bittersweet, but the sweet is absolutely there - I am feeling like the simmering down of my aunt’s pasta sauce from full pot to half, the diminishing of the vastness of life into something a bit smaller and shorter, but far more rich and flavorful. And the slowing of myself into someone who can really savor every bite, if for no other reason than I can’t gobble and go as if it were springtime.
So… what’s on your bucket list? For you really young folks, that’s the list of things to do before you kick the bucket. Before you go down for the big dirt nap. Before you check out of the Life Motel. Everyone should have a bucket list and be chasing down a couple of things on it at all times, because you never know for sure when the hands of fate are going to grab your ticket and punch it while you’re not looking, like some silly game show and guess what? You’re off the island. Don’t even bother packing. I mean, of all things, we actually had a meteor boom over central Texas last night, how about that? And it could have crash landed right smack dab down on my very balls on the living room couch with the same odds it as anywhere else had it made it all the way in. “Well Mr. Beckwth, actually, the mean vector average trajectory calculation of the –“ BOOM. Splat. “But you see we’re connected and ordained to be the rightful Godly inheritors of –“ BABOOM! Whoosh. “Fake. Horrible Photoshop. The Earth is flat and there’s no such thing as –“ KERPOW. Eat it, pal. One cosmic delete key, right there Fred. Goodnight nurse, ghost given, chips cashed, big one bitten. Hasta la vista, baby. Argue with the spaceball.
Now if you dodge the meteors and give the slip to entropy a few times, you live long enough and all you have left is that list, but most of it you can’t do anymore! So start one now. I think a good mix is one of certain things to have, things to experience, and things to have deliberately cultivated to leave behind when you go. When you bite the dust. Buy the farm, metaphorically. Go “tits up” as they say on the east coast. (We do have a way wit woids…)
Mine has a few things on it – a big one is a road trip. No surprise there really, but THIS one will be all across Rt. 66, bang a right in Cali, and head on up the Pacific coast. A late ‘50s style battleship of a cruiser was on it but that’s crossed off now - this 1960 Pontiac took care of that, and ol’ “American Beauty” is now the car I want to do it in. So I’m gaining on that one.
Another was to own a Martin D35 – man, I lusted after one for years. And a few years back, one practically dropped into my lap in a deal I couldn’t say no to. Far too fragile and vulnerable for the life I live, I wrote & recorded with it and sold it down the road – but I had the experience. I got my dance. Same with a spectacular used ’58 re-issue black Les Paul custom. Check… aaaaand out. Next!
I wouldn’t mind going to Sicily. I’m working on getting four books together and put out, and three more albums of music. But back to you – what are YOU doing? Where are YOU going? What do you WANT? Listen, if a Birdsong bass or a D’Aquila electric jazz guitar is anywhere on your bucket list, I want to know this! I’ve been privileged to build the “This is the last instrument I’m ever going to buy, so I’m treating myself” basses for a number of old timers, short timers, and visitors on a time schedule if you catch my drift. It’s not morbid – it’s a celebration. It’s a victory lap in the face of the end of the ride, the only sure thing. It’s a good stiff arm up right at that hooded bastard with the scythe. “You’ll be prying my hands off THIS bass. You’ll be chasing me in THIS hot rod. You’re going to take me down in flight, not sitting around counting regrets and waiting for you. Get the hell away from me until you got your papers signed and it’s time.”
If ANYTHING I do is part of a stand like that, you let me know. Sure there are some numbers involved, but I’m in reeeeal good with the guy that runs this joint, see? Arrangements can be made. I’d love to hear from you and I will move this mountain to serve that stand. Maybe you can meet me out on the Mother Road and pick it up over a cold one. The pizza’s on me. Maybe literally! Restaurants have been known to be troublesome to more than a few Italians over the years. Ha ha, who knows. All I know is I’ll enjoy every bite, and I hope you will too. Happy fall. Get out there and make some moments, will you?
Listening to: Al Caiola Italian Gold; Mississippi Fred McDowell, Type O Negative, and Bonnie “Prince” Billy. That MIGHT be the first time those four have ever been put in the same sentence in the history of man. But I’m not real good with coloring in the lines.