Sunday, December 18, 2016

Gordon Lightfoot is Not Dead

By Fred Owens

I was listening to a Gordon Lightfoot CD and thinking what a great singer he was, assuming he was dead.
We were in the car, driving back from Phoenix to Santa Barbara, after a four-day festive visit with friends. We were listening to Gordon Lightfoot sing the Early Morning Rain and the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Driving west on Interstate 10, it takes 8 or 9 hours to drive from Phoenix to Santa Barbara  -- 510 miles across the desert.

Gordon Lightfoot was singing his old tunes, plus so many that I had never heard before and he is such a good story teller.
I was driving. Laurie, my major, major girlfriend, was in the passenger seat and she has a smart phone. So I said to her, "Is Gordon Lightfoot dead?"
She answered, "I don't know, but I can look it up."
She found out that he is alive and well and still performing. "Still" is the word we use for our ancient ones. We say that he is "still" performing, meaning he might croak any minute. We might avoid using that word -- "still"  -- when referring to our elders. Still breathing -- you're goddam right and I will knock you on the head with my cane if you say that again.
Lightfoot, according to Wikipedia, was born in 1938 in Orillia, Ontario, making him 78 years old. He was married for 22 years to a woman named Elizabeth Moon, although they were separated for about half of those 22 years  -- no need for an explanation -- Lightfoot is a touring musician and the settled life is difficult for those folks.
One more surprising and endearing fact. Lightfoot has a son named Fred. Fred Lightfoot. That's a pretty classy name.
Winter in Aleppo
At 8 p.m. on Sunday night it is 32 degrees in Aleppo. I monitor the weather in Aleppo because it is a fact.

It is a fact of nature that affects everyone equally. It is 32 degrees in Aleppo whether you are a brutal killer or an innocent child. We are all the same under nature's sky -- 32 degrees means you need shelter and heat  -- whoever you are.

And 32 degrees is pretty cold if you are scrunched up next to a wall that blocks the wind, covered with one blanket, waiting for a green evacuation bus taking you to someplace unknown. Unbathed. Unfed. Cell phone battery going dead.... Cold.
When I was young and footloose, I often slept out rough, in the cold. It can be worth it  -- enduring the cold, sleeping on the hard ground -- if you want the freedom that comes with it....... But not anymore. I will accept obligations if I can secure a warm bed at night. And I am thankful for the warm and peaceful home I enjoy.

Driving Miss Mabel

It is not wrong to call someone an old woman. Mabel lives across the street from us. She is 95, born in 1921. She has a valid drivers license but she decided it was time for her to stop driving, so I take her to the grocery store once a week.
She is a sturdy old soul, born and raised in Montana, the 6th out of 11 children. She rode a horse to school in the subzero cold and did chores - living on a ranch. You learn to get along with people when you grow up in a large family, she said  And you learn to take things in stride. We were poor but we didn't know it. Everyone was poor. We had it better back then -- in some ways.
And in some ways it's better now -- she didn't say that, but I expect she likes indoor plumbing as much as anybody.
Language Facts
Here is a Wikipedia link to Maltese. Maltese is spoken by 520,000 people on the island of Malta. It is a variant of Arabic, but written in the Latin alphabet....... There is lots of cool stuff like that on the Internet. Over 5,000 languages are spoken throughout the world. I have a pretty hard time with just English.

Merry Christmas everyone !

Fred Owens
cell: 360-739-0214

My gardening blog is  Fred Owens
My writing blog is Frog Hospital

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