Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Did not run this morning. My body was telling me to take it easy one more day. Glad I did.

Last night we were singing and dancing to an old Peter, Paul and Mary recording of "Puff the Magic Dragon". On Saturday we went to a puppet show at the mall and Sophie fell in love with the song (it was integral to the puppet show). When I got home from work she wished she could hear the song again. Little did she know that I had one of my mom's old LP's buried among the hundreds I have in the office.

Ahh, remember LP's? There's nothing like them. I know that compact disc's are supposed to provide better sound quality (and, admittedly, they do). But there's a human element that's missing with cd's. I can listen to a cd and you can be thousands of miles away listening to your own copy of the same cd and we're having the same music experience. But with LP's.... man, they were a personal experience. The minute the needle hit the vinyl and that crackling began... it was a crackle that came from you playing the same songs over and over and over again.

To this day I can't listen to the Yes album "90125" on cd because I can still hear all of the skips and worn grooves from the LP I got back in the Christmas of '83. The second song on the first side (remember sides?), "Hold On", that New Year's Eve, I remember jamming on the drums with Bob Hasek and Thom Theiss and I was playing Budd's drums. And for some reason I really wanted to get that opening drum riff right, probably to impress those guys. And that was the night I scratched the record beyond repair. Oh, we tried. And the beginning of the song always sounded like we'd dragged the album on the sidewalk (Crrrkkkkkk-----lppppkkkkk!).

The other thing about Lp's was the way you explored the jacket cover and the liner notes while the record played. My parents’ basement was my fortress of solitude and I spent so many hours rocking back and forth in one of those broken yellow upholstered rocker/recliners reading the lyrics and touching the often raised textures of the LP jackets. You don't get that anymore.

Music was such an important part of my life. Those LP's marked me forever. To this day I can remember hearing the first notes of the one's that changed my life. The opening banjo riff from "The Rainbow Connection" from THE MUPPET MOVIE SOUNDTRACK (my first record); The piano beginning to "Don't Stop Believin' (Journey ESCAPE) and those drums the began "Owner of a Lonely Heart (from 90125). The scratchy ending of the fist side of Clapton's SLOWHAND, that put me to sleep my first semester of college. And the slamming snare of Max Weinberg on "The Ties That Bind" when I truly discovered Springsteen and THE RIVER changed my life.

Oh, I know you can have those moments with cd's. But there weren't remote controls. you had to physically get up and make the effort to play the song again. if I wanted to try and match Neil Peart tom-tom for tom-tom on "Red Barchetta", I had to get off the drum stool and play song two of MOVING PICTURES again and hope I got back to the set before the song began. LP's were a physical experience.

And of course, I stole some of my parents LP's, little did they realize. Mostly mom's stuff: Harry Belafonte's CALYPSO (featuring "Day-O); The soundtrack to THE STRING, and obviously, Peter, Paul and Mary's MOVIN'.

I've always loved the song "Puff the Magic Dragon". Something about the innocence in that song. It wasn't until I was in college and I'd placed it on a road tape as a joke that I realized how sad the song ends. And as Sophie sang and danced to it last night, I was getting welled up. She doesn't understand all of the lyrics. And I wish she could hold on to that wide-eyed innocence. I wish they both could. But someday... far away I hope, that innocence will be crushed. Something like Cystic Fibrosis and the reality of the disease will make them confront life and death.

But for now, I'm going to enjoy singing and dancing with these two angels in my life. I am a blessed man. I have a wife who is strong, forgiving and shows me more love than I feel I deserve. And I have these two children who bring me so much joy and challenge me every day. I have close friends and relatives who I trust my life with and who I know will protect my family.

Yes, I am a blessed man. A thankful man.


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