Monday, September 10, 2007

Needed Rhapsody in Blue

I was going to watch the “Da Vinci Code” on the television; but got distracted and the next thing I knew Lucy had her favorites on, Flip This House, or some kind of show involving remodeling houses. Some day I might actually get to watch the Da Vinci Code from start to finish; having caught small portions of it here and there only to be interrupted.

I was catching up with my email, our internet service was interrupted for a couple of days and it took AT&T a while to set up a time for a repairman to find the trouble. It turned out a wire had come loose inside a box at the end of the street. While the fellow was checking all the other connections he rewired the way the cables brought service to our big screen television; how about that, we really do get HD and stereo the way it was supposed to be done when it was first installed.

I got birthday emails from my sister and my brother; I’m officially 57 years old, not 57 years of age. I’m so tired of hearing sports announcers explain how ball players are so many “years of age” instead of so many years old; why is that?

Bonnie gave me a birthday card with a picture of a cat that looked very much like our own Bubba Kitty; quite a bit fatter than Bubba. We showed the card to Jocelyne, our granddaughter who is two years old, not to be confused with two years of age. All night long when she saw the picture she would joyfully shout out, “Bub-bA”, placing extra emphasis on the last syllable.

While going through my email I had iTunes on so I could listen to my Greatest Opera Hits in order to hear Luciano Pavarotti singing Che Gelida Manina from Puccini’s, La Boheme once more; having read a couple of tribute blogs following his recent departure from mortality. With a voice such as his possibly his presence was more of a minor god than of a mortal; oye vey! ( small “lol” for those who know the words )

Lucy’s in there captivated by fancy granite counter top replacements and matching dishwasher, oven and stovetop burners so I decided to listen to some Gershwin; his Rhapsody in Blue to be more specific. I have several versions; full orchestral, small orchestra with piano solo and then for those who have to have it in its purest form I have George Gershwin playing it all by himself; a modern miracle of sorts as it was taken from old Player Piano rolls, fed through a fancy digital recorder and then replayed on a grand piano as if in concert. I’m not sure how all of that was accomplished, only that I enjoy that one the most.

I had a kid in one of my Sunday School classes a few years ago, a sharp kid with lots going in the right direction; but he’d never heard of George Gershwin or the Rhapsody in Blue. That thought bothered me to the point of visiting with his parents and pointing out that they'd neglected part of their duties by not exposing the boy to what I considered basic and mandatory music.

I handed them a CD with a good selection of original Gershwin music; An American in Paris, Rialto Ripples and Rhapsody in Blue among others. I’m not sure if they understood my sense of humor as they accepted the gift, or was it a homework assignment?

I can’t go too long without a Gershwin break, something about his music fills a void better than any other music. One of the first cassette tapes I ever owned was Rhapsody in Blue; still have it hidden away in a storage box somewhere. I used to play it on one of those portable players like most students had to record lectures and take notes, not even stereo as I recall.

When I was away at college I found a treasure on the “Dollar Sale Table”. It was an archived George Gershwin LP; several Player Piano roll pieces, Rhapsody in Blue included. How it got on the bargain table was a mystery and I walked away with my treasure, stolen for only a dollar from those too ignorant and who didn’t deserve to have it.

I kept it for many years, enjoying it once and again until one day a friend of Lucy’s was over the house visiting. The more I learned of his past, playing in jazz bands and his love of Gershwin; I knew that my bargain treasure was intended for his collection. He wept when I gave it to him, understanding how much Gershwin meant; he needed the Rhapsody in Blue more than I did.

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