Sunday, October 9, 2011

All in the game

Joe Beringer called yesterday. Would I join him for coffee? He would pick me up. Be out in front on Main St.

Dave's, my preference, was already closed per Saturday afternoon custom, so Joe parked and we walked the one block to The Steaming Cup, which is another enjoyable site. It is 3 pm, and we talked Waukesha history till 4:30 when I had to return to the Odd Fellows hall.

Joe is a Waukesha treasure. He told of when he played his violin with Les Paul when they were youths. Their fathers, fellow friendly imbibers, talked about each other's sons once upon a time in one of their habitual taverns. and Mr. Paulfus bragged about his son who was a budding guitarist.

Oh yeah? Well, MY son is a fabulous violinist, Mr. Beringer asserted. Maybe those boys should meet each other. So, above the now Altmont Gallery which was then Cohn's Shoe Store, in the 2nd floor auditorium and recital hall where Les Paul sometimes practiced and performed, the two boys were introduced to each other, and then played together. Les was in his sailor cap and wore his harmonica around his neck. They boys became long-time friends.

As Joe and I talked at The Steaming Cup, we glanced through their window up to the old auditorium site where the meeting of the boys took place. And the old Cohn's (Cohn's threshhold tile still there) where Joe and I looked forward as kids to the X-ray machine in the front of the shoe store near the cash register, where customers stuck their feet in to see the spooky fit of tentative shoe purchases.

And when the Steaming Cup was once Morey's News store where Joe and I, not then acquainted - about 10 years age difference - went to study girlie magazines, if we weren't at the public library perusing the Nationa Geographics for the glossy photos of bare-naked African breasts. The various shapes of them were so many.

And, and, & ETC.

True Golden-Agers. Who woulda thought?

Still reminiscing, I awoke this morning with an old Cardinal Attic tune running through my head. I hope for a photo of the old Attic site in the old YMCA on South St. from John Schoenknecht to use as an illustration in a future posting on this diary.

You might play

We know, that one is 1958 and we probably listened to Nat King Cole's version, but the SRN likes this one. Whatever, the tune was great to do 'THE ATTIC STEP' to, after treading up those creaky stairs to the dance floor. The Y, which was a safe haven for teenagers.


Jane, the old woman across the street,
is lugging big black trash bags to the curb.
It's snowing hard, and the bags are turning white,
gradually disappearing in the storm.

Jane is getting ready to put her house on the market
and move into a home of some sort. A facility.
She's just too old to keep the place going anymore,
and as we chat about this on the sidewalk
I'm thinking, I'm so glad this isn't going to happen to me.

It seems like a terrible fate, to drag out your trash bags
and then head for a facility somewhere.
And all the worse to be old in a facility. But then,
that's the whole reason you go there in the first place.

But the great thing about being me, I'm thinking,
as I continue my morning walk around the block,
is that I'm not going to a facility of any sort.

That's for other people. I intend to go on
pretty much as I always have, enjoying life,
taking my morning walk, then coffee
and the newspaper, music and a good book.
Europe vaguely in the summers.
Then another year just like this one, on and on,
ad infinitum.

Why change this? I have no intention of doing so.
What Jane is doing—growing old,
taking out her ominous black trash bags
to vanish terribly in the snow, getting ready
for someone to drive her to the facility—

that may be her idea of the future (which I totally respect),
but it certainly isn't mine.

(From Garrison Keillor's WRITERS ALMANAC today)