Before we start I'd like to put out a little request. If you are someone that is or has cared for a loved one in or out of a nursing facility I"d love to hear your comments. Several of you have written to me by email about your experiences and I'd love it if you felt free to talk about them here. It has always been my hope from the inception of this blog that we could create a kind of community to support one another through this passage of time....That being said, I'd love to hear about music too.
When I was 11 years old my sixth grade teacher discovered I could read (she tested me by making me read 2001: A Space Odyssey, goodie!) she had me borrow a book of hers acquired in college which had classic short stories and I took it home. After a week I'd read about 4 stories and thought the best was a fictional account of Paul Revere's ride narrated by a dentist from that era.
It was Sunday night, I had to take the book back to school the next day but I couldn't find it. It was lost. I'd looked everywhere. I remember that night standing in the bathroom staring at myself in the mirror praying that God would send me a sign and help me find the book. I knew it had some sentimental value to the teacher and would be irreplaceable. If God could just give me a sign somehow...Then it happened. I got a headache. I laid on my bed moaning to myself how I'd messed up big time and lost the teachers special book. I was on my bed when my mom came in the room she suggested I go get an aspirin, I did and it turned out the book was on the shelf next to the aspirins. Wow, just like that I was saved. The sign was actually there, the headache was the sign from God I was looking for.
I like it better when the signs from the heavens are non pain inducing.
After our white German Shepard, Duke, was either stolen or ran away, a new dog started showing up in our yard. We named her Lady. Whenever we'd take the horses out on trail rides up into the hills, going away for hours at a time, she'd come along. She was a yellowy mid size mutt and a happy girl. In contrast Duke had always been somewhat sad and brooding, probably because he'd been abandoned by the previous owners of our house. I imagined Lady to be like those 60s Lassie stories, an irresistible happy go lucky dog that people fell in love with and adopted for a month and then she'd be on her way a rogue at heart, ready for the next adventure.
Her adventure with us included puppies, which were born in the horses tack and feed barn. Within a month we had another surprise our new horse, whom we'd been surprised to find pregnant, foaled and we had a sweet little girl horse to play with after school. A time of abundance. Surprises abounded.
* * *
A week ago a friend of ours here at the blog passed away, . His name was Larry (L.A.) Johnson, he was at home on his houseboat in Redwood City, he was 62. He's picture is still on the list of subscribers.
I met Larry by phone in 2007 when I was organizing a series of shows at the hip Los Angeles venue, Largo. The shows were protesting the war in Iraq and at the same time celebrating the community of musicians that were featured at Neil Young's Living With War website. Several hundred of us had written songs about the war and they were up on the site for folks to listen to, each listen became a "vote" and one of my songs went into the top 10. Then a few months later a mysterious journalist wrote a rave review of the song and signed it RB Warford. Larry told me later it was likely a surprise attack from Neil himself, who apparently likes to cloak himself in the 'garb of the every man and wander amongst the natives'. Of course I was thrilled.
At any rate, Larry brought a film crew down to the first Largo show and interviewed me and some of the other musicians while we were doing our thing. It was alot of fun and I'm told that film still lives there in the official archive next to some valuable piece of Neil performance.
Larry was a film maker that was one of the primary cinematographers on the Woodstock film. I'm pretty sure he also helped film Dylan's film 'Renaldo and Clara'. But for many years, the last 20 or more, he was Neil Young's production manager and friend.
Larry and I stayed friends by email and phone and he was always supportive of my musical efforts and particularly my organizing of benefits, often calling it the "good work". He has a mother with dementia and we talked at times about our loved ones suffering from the condition. He will be missed.
* * *
A week ago Aviara, the nursing home where Paul lives, lost his hearing aids. I've been too upset to write about this. It's confounding, frustrating and infuriating. He can barely hear without them. And they cost a bundle, about two thousand dollars. I'd been afraid of this, so when they were new, before I even took them in, I put Paul's name on them with bright red fingernail polish. Bleh.
I looked through all the drawers all of his dirty laundry, which by the way has been piling up for over a week. I looked under and around his bed. Nowhere.
On Monday I left a message with the "social worker" at the home, I left 2 messages actually, and didn't get a return call. So I went in today and looked some more and brought home the papers to fill out a formal complaint. Whatever.
While I was there someone from the family of Paul's room mate, an elderly man in his 80s, talked with me about her experiences with lost hearing aids. "One was crushed, another set was found in the washing machine, the third and fourth just disappeared", I'm paraphrasing but you get the idea. "A pair specially ordered slippers" lasted a month.
Where do they go?
Things I found this week:
The new song about Haiti (see below), an upbeat email from my friend Lenny Kaye, A few new guitar students, Some chat room time with old friend Lynne Robinson, A new gig for February, My picture in the Taylor magazine arrived today, Some quality time with Paul doing a crossword puzzle together (he didn't have to hear me for that), Paul's son Taiyo will be coming to visit around Easter, Paul's friend Philip K Dick's daughter will be visiting early March, I remembered that I like to play music in front of people last week when I played at Ducky Waddles Emporium, being flirted with by a couple of guys, Alexander is writing a science fiction story.