A Daybook in a Life–Guitar Excerpts

It’s Good to Give Yourself a Good Scare Every Once and Awhile

Prologue

My guitar playing moved from the confines of my apartment when my cousin Wade moved to NYC.  We practiced together and took our act to the rooftops and the streets of Manhattan.  It was, needless to say, exhilarating.

I have continued to play ever since.  When my children were little I serenaded them every night with a selection of Buddy Holly, The Beatles and my own songs.  Then I would knock them out by reading my latest history book.  You’d think that they would have had enough of me and my guitar.

My daughter, bless her heart, is about to graduate from college.  Ever since she turned 21 she has asked me to play at her favorite haunt on open mike night.  I have always agreed.  But we never set up a date.  Until last week.  It was the last “open-mike” night before she graduated.  It was now or never.

I gave a talk about Civil War Confederate generals at a historical society and then hit the bar with my guitar—a diverse evening if ever there was one.  Both events went well.  My knowledge of Civil War history definitely surpasses my talent as a rock-n-roll guitarist.  Both are great fun and equally exhilarating.

But it all started  back in 1984–note the Daybook entries:

Tuesday June 19, 1984—New York City—Back on the job—Not so very hot and nice and sunny.  Drove to Poughkeepsie then back roads to Hudson then down to Saugerties.  Home.  I went to L and H’s  and met Wade and L and H.  They were on their way to their Pre-Cana conference at St. Jean Baptiste so Wade and I  had a bite to eat at the 3 Star Restaurant and talked computers, job interviews, rock n roll and the insurance business.  We all met up there and went back to the co-op.  I walked Wade part way home then headed home up 3rd Avenue.

Tuesday July 3, 1984—New York City—Business day up-state.  Talked to Wade immediately upon arrival home and halfway through my walk met he and J.L  at Pancho Villas.  She is from Iowa.  Looks about 35.  Actually 21 or so.  She’s met all kinds of movie directors and film stars and seems to have enjoyed an amazing career in New York in one month.

We left her off and went over to Wade’s and played guitar.

Wednesday, July 4, 1984—New York City—I got up in the middle of the morning and got into my white trousers, inked up white shirt and sear sucker jacket to see some air show over the Intrepid.  All the way down to 57th and 11th Ave.  I sat down on the stoop of some studio-like building and, keeping my eye open for WWII bombers, I started work, on scrap yellow papers from Pancho Villas, on a new play.  I got something down but there were no planes.

I spent the afternoon reading and playing guitar.  I’d told Wade the night before I’d write a song and so I did that.  Later, I went down to watch the fireworks with Wade and J.A. from Sutton Place at 55th Street.  It was really nice.  A huge, hippy crowd and a soft, warm breezy night and the display framed in the buildings, had a homier effect than normal.  Some sailors were almost turned around by J.A.   We all went and had a coke and I went home from there.

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