Friday, October 14, 2011

Song Saturday - October Surprise 1978


Normally the term "October Surprise" refers to a dramatic political event timed to sway voters that first week in November.  My favorite October Surprise was the dramatic entry of my son on the 15th of October, 1978.  We had him pencilled in the appointment book for December, but apparently he had other ideas.  Not the last time, just the first time.

1978 was a mixed bag.  There were three popes that year, Annie Hall won Best Movie at the Oscars causing women everywhere to start raiding men's wardrobes, the Camp David Accords were signed and still Jimmy Carter was underappreciated, and the damn Yankees won the World Series.  Some things remain predictable.  What is unpredictable is what makes life interesting.

Orange Crush Days in Denver
So, today, I take time to remember that very first, very intense unpredictable experience with my son and all the days since.  It is a relationship unique and wonderful, born in urgency, nurtured over time, maturing even now.  He was only 3 lbs 14 oz at birth, but he has always been living large in my mind.

Surrounded by Love

We made it through scrapes and skateboards and tongue piercings and tattoos and soccer and Little League and Cub Scouts and moves and divorce and he survived and emerged wiser than I in some respects.  A loving son to his dad and then stepson to Tim, a great companion, a loyal friend.  Not much more I could want.

Tim cuts his hair

Always a Hat Fancier

I don't take too much credit for who he is today.  He has always been a well-formed, well-defined person who has the enviable talent of knowing no strangers. 
The Rolling Office

We have had goofy times and tender times and they all blur together as one sensation of overwhelming Yes.  On the day of Tim's death, my toughest day, I dialed his number, said only "help" three times and hung up.  I had no doubt he would be there when I needed him most and he was.  Rock steady.

This year's birthday is especially sweet - he is engaged and so very happy.  So, even though he is on the other coast tonight, all is right in my personal universe.  My sole wish for him was always to find his happiness on his path.  The future indeed looks bright.

A bright future - Sweeter

A special Song Saturday birthday wish...

No. 83 from the Top 100 in 1978
Whenever I Call You Friend
Kenny Loggins with Stevie Nicks
Happy Birthday, baby.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Song Saturday - When October Goes

Reflection.  There's not a year that goes by that I don't linger and listen to this song when the calendar page turns to October.

Barry Manilow was one of Tim's guilty pleasures, although he was not the type to feel guilty about his choices.  This song embraces the poignancy of this time of the year for me - my favorite season and memories of my favorite guy, all in one brilliant Johnny Mercer lyric paired with a beautiful minor key melody from Manilow.

September in my hometown still evinces summer -- the heat of the valley, the trees still desperately clinging to their green facade, people in sleeveless shirts and shorts listening to that last summer concert in the downtown square or cruising the Farmer's Market.

October signals the cycle of change and preparation.  The initiation of autumn, rather than the end of the year, is my time of deepest reflection and planning.

I notice the avenues of trees and watch for them to put on their finest colors and then slowly undress.  I wait for that first full moon that breaks through the naked branches.  I try to anticipate November, our birthdays month, and gauge if another year down the road of grieving and loss has moved me farther along the path to release.  He'd surely tell me, "get on with it."  He did.  I think I'm almost there. The leaves will drop; the rains will come. I will still hate to see October go.

I should be over it now, I know.  
It doesn't matter much how old I grow.
I hate to see October go.

Art: Maxfield Parrish - "Dream October"