Ah, it was a weekend just like the old days… Made me sort of nostalgic.
One of my old bands called me on Friday. “Hey, we’re booked at the Chesterfield Saturday night, but our bass player can’t make it. Can you play?” I reviewed my schedule… Saturday night I was supposed to be in neighboring village Le Mars to help prepare a presentation for the Korean Veterans’ Last Man Club, but gosh, I can reschedule that…
“Yep,” I said. “I can be there.” A few quick phone calls and my schedule was set. Oh boy! I get to play again!
It didn’t really occur to me until mid-afternoon on Saturday, just hours before the gig, that I hadn’t played with this band for nearly two years. Two years! I bet they learned a few new songs in the last two years… Will I be able to remember the old songs? Oh my. I looked at my bass. It had been sitting in the corner so long there was dust on the case. Not just a light sprinkling of dust, but the “I can see your fingerprints” kind of dust. It’s been a while…
I found an old recording of the band from years ago and cued it up on iTunes, hoping to refresh my memory. I lay back and closed my eyes, concentrating on the key changes. Within five minutes I was sound asleep.
So… 7:30 that night found me standing on stage, plugging my bass into the house sound system, woefully unprepared, but well rested. After a quick sound check I ran through the list of questions I had for the band. “What’s the key change in this song?” and “Do you guys still cue off the drums for the ending of this song?” and “When did you quit wearing sequined spandex pants, and why didn’t anyone tell me?”
By 8:30 my beloved Austrian Snickerdoodle Dagmar and I were sitting at a table, me sipping beer, she sipping a Diet Coke mit der lime in it. The place was starting to fill up a little — people slowly filtering in to see the show. (It never ceases to amaze me how a bar can be completely empty at 8:55 and be packed at 9:01.) I couldn’t help but notice one elderly couple, dressed to the nines. I wondered if they would stay for a song, or if they would leave before the band started.
Promptly at 9:17 the singer gathered us together and we headed for the stage. I strapped on my bass, set my beer down, and proceeded to have a ball… I forget exactly what the first song was, but it was something along the lines of Ted Nugent’s “Great White Buffalo,” a very up-tempo, semi-distorted 70’s song. I wondered what the classy elderly couple thought of it. The second song was in the same vein as the first — a fast rocker designed to get people onto the dance floor early. And sure enough, people were dancing. There were at least three or four couples on the dance floor, jiggling away. Again, I wondered a little about the well-dressed gent and his wife. I felt bad that we’d chased them out of the place with our loud music…
Then I realized that THEY were the ones in the middle of the dance floor.
They stayed all night. They danced to “Margaritaville.” They danced to “Brown eyed Girl.” They danced to “Play That Funky Music.” ZZTop, Ted Nugent, they danced to it all. When the dance floor got full, they danced in the aisle. About halfway through the night the gent lost his coat and tie and continued dancing in his shirt sleeves. They danced until well after 1 o’clock in the morning.
It did my heart good to see them.
Just like in the old days, I slept until 11 the next morning, then spent the day on the couch, remote in one hand, snacks balanced precariously on my belly, moaning about my headache, Alka-Seltzer fizzing away.
To top the weekend off in style, the Mighty Mighty Packers beat the Vikings to remain undefeated — a perfect 4-0!
Then I fell asleep.
Things to Think About
I received an e-mail from a friend the other day saying, “Look at this — the democrats are trying to take veterans’ benefits away from us again. Boy, the nerve! I’m sure going to remember this when it’s time to vote!” There was a link to a newspaper article. I didn’t read it.
Things like this make me angry. I could tell at first glance that facts were taken out of context and the facts were distorted, but I didn’t have time to even read the article all the way through. I want to rebut and refute, but I can’t until I get time to do more research. But gosh, it sure seems to me like the democrats giveth and the republicans taketh away…
A lovely accounting of a much more exciting night than mine, as per usual.
However, this “Korean Veterans’ Last Man Club” thing has me piqued… Just how many people are IN the Last Man Club? And what exactly do you do? Dance around when another dies with the goal to be the last Korean Vet standing? Can I vote on this?
It’s interesting. My little hometown, LeMars, has a population of about 8,000 or so. But the American Legion there has Last Man clubs for WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and they’re forming one for the Iraq War from what I hear. What they do is, well, pretty simple. They all chip in a couple bucks when they join. They buy the biggest, best bottle of cognac they can get.
Once a month or so they all get together to spend a night playing cards or whatever and talking about life in general… It’s a good way for veterans of a particular war to kind of talk things through with each other, I guess. (I never saw combat, so I’m not real sure what it’s like to be a combat vet.) I think they make it a point to read off all the names of those who served in that conflict/war once a month to keep their memory alive.
When there comes time for the monthly meeting and there’s only one man left alive, he gets the bottle of brandy. The names of all the members of the club are inscribed on the wooden case that holds the bottle. Kind of a bittersweet thing…
Oh, I should have said that I’m not in (nor am I eligible for) any Last Man’s Club. I’m just working on a presentation for them is all.
Well, I say we take the bottle, salute all the troops and have our own Last Man Standing in honor!
Congrats on getting the chance to rock once more. Seems like you pulled it off, which is impressive. My rocking of the past year or so has consisted mostly of discussing a potential lawsuit when a song a my best friend wrote in a band with me years ago ended up sold to Ford and on The Real World in another ex-member’s new band (that he subsequently got kicked out of). Confusing. And much less fun than your actually rocking time.