Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Different Cathedrals

My parents are in Britannia, and the American earth tugs sardonically at my shoes. I would trade places at the drop of a blue hat. I’ve never really seen my native soil, so I don’t suppose that the particular patch of ground I’m planted upon has any claim on me. My roots tend toward the sky. Especially the sky above Atlanta where mom and dad disappeared into the hazy blue in the iron belly of a 747. And the Lord commanded the 747, and it spat them upon dry land, much to my mother’s exhausted relief. My parents went to the United Kingdom because my dad is on tour with The Centurymen, singing first tenor and drawing shallow wistful breaths at the graves of William Cowper, John Newton, and other misfit musical saints. I can see mom and dad having lox and eggs at hotels in the morning, and gallons of tea. At least, that’s how I imagine it. I couldn’t see myself doing any less.

I thought of the span across which my dad and I are flung, now – us two musical pilgrims. It’s really the sort of instance you laugh at over breakfast, because, while he lofts his voice into the stone rotundas of England’s medieval cathedrals, I wander, accordion-clad, down to Sassy Ann’s to play jam band style at an open mic in an old Victorian mansion. While sweet consonance rings in the narthex of some consecrated granite monastery, I politely decline the offer from the nice guitar player smoking something illicit next to me. The truth is, though my head is ringing a little, I had a good time. I’ve never thought of an accordion as a hard rock, jam band instrument before. Strangely enough, neither had anyone else until I showed up with one. I was invited back, though, so that’s a good sign. I was told that the nightcap of the evening is a small acoustic set. Count me in.


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