One of the options I’ve been pursuing is to become a rock star. Well you never know until you try, right? Seriously, I’ve been putting in some major wood shedding (hep-cat musician speak for “practice”) and have been seeing some gradual improvement in my playing. I’ve been a closet guitar player for forty years, noodling away in private, rarely playing with anyone else, never really learning any songs, just improvising away on the blues and lately some old time country and rockabilly things. I’m not particularly talented as a musician, but I’m determined. And I have a really bad case of stage fright. I’ve attended open jams and when I get called out to solo, it’s deer in the headlights time. My fingers turn to stone, I can’t remember the key we’re in, or where to start. I’ve sat there, sweating for four measures of an eight measure break. I can practice a piece for hours, play it fairly well in private, but if I have one person watching me I just can’t pull it off.
Lately I’ve been getting together to make music with a young woman who I met at a neighbor’s house last summer. We’ve been playing weekly and this week we decided we needed to work up some songs, spend the time to arrange them, with intros and solos and middles and ends. If not to perform at some time, to at least put some more interest into the musical experience.
One of the songs, we’re doing is Dead Flowers by the Rolling Stones. “Take me down, take me down little Susie, I know that you think you’re the queen of the underground.” I found myself getting a little nostalgic about the song because it came out around the time I broke up with Susie, my high school sweetheart. I remember getting a little mopey every time I heard it in the early Seventies. I looked it up, it was released in ’71. I had to have split with her in the fall of ’70 so I must have still been pining away when it came out. Without going into details, I had it coming. And despite the fact that I was a real prick to her, we’ve kept in touch. A couple of years ago she sent me my class ring, which I guess meant we weren’t going steady anymore.
I guess these things have a way of working out though. We both ended up with the people we were meant to be with. After a rocky start, she and her husband have built a very successful business together, and seem to be in love and happy. And I found my true soul mate and maybe the only person in the world who would put up with me for thirty years.
Susie didn’t send dead flower’s to my wedding.