Monday, August 04, 2008

summer days

It’s high summer on the East Coast. The glitterati are enjoying fine wine on the porches of Martha’s Vineyard. The burnished sun sets over sand dunes and water sparkles like diamonds.

It’s nice on the East Coast -- Cape Cod, the Hamptons, the Jersey shore. There’s a town and resort place for every income level. The air is ten degrees cooler on the beach. The sand gets in your toes and into the cottage. The barbeque is lit. Friends come over.

You forget all about winter. You talk about politics, but casually. It’s no more serious than a game of cards. Parcheesi is popular this year, new herbs and spices, a taste of fennel and basil. The ocean breeze makes you feel young and alive.

September is coming. That’s when life changes. September -- not the springtime -- brings new beginnings. Change is in the air. The young people are acting up, but lowering their voices, as if they really mean it.

It’s risky. Senator Barack Obama admits to being a risk, but I’ll take the chance. We need to change just to keep things just as good as they are. Wars end. They always have. Civilization is fragile, there are no guarantees. Conservatives guard against the oppression of government over the individual. But I have no trust for any human institution. I fear the government, yes. I fear the large corporations too. I’ve seen corruption in colleges, thievery in small businesses, and brutality in the family, because evil lies in the hearts of men. And we need to change just to keep it as good as it is.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, gaveled down the Congress and shut off a vote on offshore drilling. Done like a pro, I say. She shut ‘em down, like Tip O’Neil did in the eighties, like Sam Rayburn did in the fifties and like mighty Joe Cannon did a hundred years ago. The Speaker is the boss of the House and not for the first time or the last time.

Because Grandmother Nancy enjoys her summer vacation on the West Coast, in Napa vineyards and Big Sur retreats. She doesn’t care to sully her view with the fumes of oil rigs. She said no and she gaveled them down.
Rest easy, Nancy. It starts over again in September. Enjoy your balmy days, you great writers, you stars of stage and screen on Martha’s Vineyard, you Nantucket sailors, you clam diggers in Maine, you Jersey gamblers.

The rest of us are reading beach novels and eating clam fritters. The days are endless.

BEAUTY FROM BROKENNESS is a book about horses, written by Connie Funk, a neighbor and friend. I started reading in the back of the book to see how it ended. I gave it a one day rest, and then started at the beginning like you’re supposed to.

It’s a clean, fresh book. Connie writes in a very direct style, she doesn’t play tricks. I don’t believe in new stories. It’s all known, but it comes back around. So I say Connie’s book is fresh. You discover what’s known and been forgotten. You must do this. And listen to God.

LISTENING TO AMY WINEHOUSE. I downloaded three of her songs to my laptop, so I’m listening to her as I write. I hate the news and the hype about her. I just want to hear her voice. You can burn your brain out as an artist trying to be something different. Don’t do that. Just be Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holiday and Betty Carter and Peggy Lee. Just sing.

JAZZ. Speaking of jazz, the great American art-form, I wonder what the Obamas like in that kind of music. I can see them at the Inaugural Ball next January, as President and First Lady -- Barack clean and smooth in black and white, Michelle sparkling, but I can’t see what color of dress she will wear, I’m not good at that.

Their first dance at the Inaugural Ball -- What tune will the Obamas choose? And this will be a change, a good change, because the Obamas will not choose what the Carters or the Reagans chose. The Obamas will dance to another melody. I have been consulting my Jazz Advisor on the choice of music. I suggested Duke Ellington. My adviser said that Duke Ellington is Presidential but not so danceable. He was thinking more along the lines of Count Basie.

What a sweet day that will be.

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