Some may say I’m wishing my days away

Two pairs of kids' boots after 90 days in the UK

Two pairs of kids’ boots after 90 days in the UK

On Saturdays we only play reggae. I set the iPod by genre, select All, and it starts with Augustus Pablo, 1 of 275 songs, and ends with Serge Gainsbourg. It takes all day. When Laurent and his family were here we were drunk by the time the Gainsbourg came on and in the morning switched over to jazz with Chet Baker, followed by Stevie Wonder when we started eating and drinking again.

I realized that night with Laurent that each of us has a piece of jewelry from my stepdad John: Laurent one of his Rolex watches, Benny a turquoise ring, Eberhard, mom and I the signet rings with John’s family crest, two sea serpents on a coronet and a Wyvern. The Wyvern has a dragon’s head and wings, the body of a reptile, and probably comes from John’s Welsh side with all the consonants.

Laurent was the last one with him in the hospital when John died that Halloween, and Eberhard called mom in the morning to tell her. When they went to see him, mom said Eberhard cried and kissed John and held him, and still goes to his grave, says a few words, drinks a whiskey and pats the headstone. He did the same with his friend before we left the Austrian Alps last August, the one he said suicided himself.

Mom is setting up the Raclette grills for our last Saturday night and Benny is coming; hopefully we can use some of the cheese Laurent brought around Easter, which we let sit in the laundry room too long unrefrigerated. Sometimes I have to remind us the reason that we’re here and all know one another is John, which is strange, how one person can have so much influence. My mom, recently divorced, was just standing in front of him in the checkout line in a grocery store in Pennsylvania and they made eye contact and smiled, and when John paid with a personal check and the cashier asked for his phone number, he looked at my mom while saying the numbers, she memorized them and called when she got home, and said call me if you want to go out some time.

Dawn’s dad and John died in the same year the U.S. economy collapsed, and we had just sold our house, looking to move up a size with Charlotte recently born and too many toys and diapers and not enough room, and Starbucks announced it would be laying people off, so we decided to take a sabbatical, to live with Dawn’s mom for a bit and my mom in Germany, and it was the death of our dads that shaped the rest of our years to a large extent, it made me rethink my life and how I wanted to live the rest of it.

And though the soul searching doesn’t always turn up the results you’d expect, it’s good to keep looking, it makes us richer to believe in things we can’t see, like souls: the dreams and hopes give us more to live for, and I think that can be even more important than seeing them come true.

I had the hardest time when I started this blog with the About page, where you’re expected to say what you’re doing, because I didn’t really know, I felt confronted by it. I guess I realized the more I did it that it’s just about me — the fact I want to publish a book some day or finish writing my memoir — and if I never do perhaps I have already, right here.

The kids are on the top floor packing, organizing their clothes in three piles called ‘Pack,’ ‘Donate’ and ‘Maybe.’ Their laptops and iPad all stopped working and now that they have no video streaming content, they’ve reverted to mom’s CD player and her Billy Joel collections, Shawn Colvin, James Taylor.

Mom, Dawn and I listened to the song “Vienna Waits for You,” let the lyrics work over us and nodded, mom tearing up, trying to understand the words and what they meant to us, probably will more in the future when we look back and remember that night.

I can hear the influence of the reggae in the Police song “Walking on the Moon,” and will never hear it the same now that it was playing on the boat as we were leaving Amsterdam for Newcastle in October, and starting our 90 days there in the UK. It felt like we were on one of those conveyor belt things at the airport that makes you move faster, and it feels that same way again: “Giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon.”

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About pinklightsabre

William Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.
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31 Responses to Some may say I’m wishing my days away

  1. rossmurray1 says:

    Now that’s a real-life meet-cute.
    As I began reading this, it occurred to me how largely father figures loom in your narrative, and then, well, there you go. Guess that’s what you were hoping would occur.
    I learned to respect The Police with age. That song, for instance, there’s a starkness to it, which of course is apt, lunar.
    Have a grand weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • pinklightsabre says:

      It is: my mom and John called it ‘from the grocery aisle to the wedding aisle.” I’m happy you were able to read this today; I’m a selfish, bad blog friend these days, telling myself I should disconnect and enjoy my last days in Europe but feeling the need to save/record the times too. Thanks for joining in. And I love that Police song more having heard it in that context, which couldn’t have been better if I’d picked it myself. You know, that’s the very best DJ moment. We were the only ones in the lounge on the cruise boat, so the song sounded spacious (as it should) on their PA system, and we had just ordered a round of drinks, and the full moon was rising…and there I should stop going on. Yours a grand weekend too, my friend. “Let’s go crazy.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Walking back from your house. Walkin on the moon.” Maybe that lyric will not remind me of that completely romantic meeting in the grocery store! I loved reading this. The music was so interwoven in the story, also the story of my life. I love the way you write.

    Liked by 2 people

    • pinklightsabre says:

      If I weren’t playing all reggae today I’d break from my regimen and put the song on…thanks for riffing on it with me, and so happy you enjoy my posts. Thank you. I hope my legs don’t break….enjoy your weekend, my friend! Bill

      Liked by 2 people

  3. ksbeth says:

    i think that even when we’ve gone through a difficult day/moment in an experience, we will somehow look back upon it with a sort of whimsical romantic kind of missing it in a way. p.s. i love the police and always have.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always heard that the grocery store is a great place to meet people, but it never worked for me. I’m always too hostile there, mad at how people drive their carts and block the aisles. Your mom’s story is probably one of the ones that got the whole idea going!

    Enjoy your remaining time in Germany, Bill. The girls will never forget it …

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      Thank you Kevin for the well wishes, and for being a long with us for all of it — and your encouragement prior. I packed up Occasional Soulmates and a handful of others for my flight back, this week. Looking forward to being state-side with you again, on the best coast. Cheers, – Bill

      Like

  5. Search Google for “Wyvern.” Oh. That.

    Is that story about John and your mom true!? That’s fantastic! If I saw that in a film, I’d think, “oh, what a clever screenwriter.” Best plot advancement device ever.

    I’m not a huge Billy Joel fan. His songs run hot and cold for me. But “Vienna Waits for You” is pretty incredible. That and “Zanzibar.” And “And So It Goes.”

    Like

    • pinklightsabre says:

      I get you on the Billy Joel, me too. But some if those tunes well, he’s got it. We were in Scotland, oban, and they were playing a greatest hits by him and it was perfect: I embarrassed my kids by singing the lyrics to “scenes from an italian restaurant.”

      Like

      • I don’t recall ever actually buying a Billy Joel album. But I took my bride to see him last year as a Christmas gift and I knew pretty much every lyric to every song. How’d THAT happen?!

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      • pinklightsabre says:

        I’m too proud and punk rock maybe or not enough by saying this, but he’s good by me. Things are OK for me these days, got a new job, I got a new office I got a new life I got a new wife and the family’s fine……

        Like

      • Dear Punk Rock: Today = 40th anniversary of the release of the first Ramones album. It tanked at first. Gigantic memorabilia exhibit at the Queens Museum for it.

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      • pinklightsabre says:

        I have a photo from Berlin to dedicate to that. Thanks for the chat and sharing with your daughter. It’s a good life, a small world, the best. I would put on the Ramones now to celebrate but I’m still in the P’s with my reggae. Prince Far I. Peace to you and yours Mark.

        Like

  6. Oh I can see the scene in a film: the eye contact, him telling the cashier his phone number, her memorising them because he was looking at her, and her calling him later when she got home. Love this post.

    Like

    • pinklightsabre says:

      It is cinematic. Life is weird and funny that way sometimes, and really hard to pin down. I’m glad you liked it, thanks. Nice hearing from people, very nice.

      Like

  7. walt walker says:

    The Force must have been strong in him. I imagine him standing there in Jedi garb as he recited that phone number. Great image there in that scene. Great post.

    Like

    • pinklightsabre says:

      Yes, it’s like that scene: close your eyes, trust your feelings…all that. The real deal. I’m glad you liked it. I’m waiting for those 18 travel tips to come out from you, mister! Bill

      Like

      • walt walker says:

        Yeah that. Oops. That’s been in the draft folder forever. It’s gone for good now. That post was no good and couldn’t be saved. I honestly have no idea how I accidentally published that. Couldn’t delete it fast enough.

        Like

      • pinklightsabre says:

        The preview and publish button are right next to one another in the “improved posting experience” interface and that could explain it.

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      • walt walker says:

        I want to say it was a keystroke that did it. I don’t think I was using the mouse at the time. But who knows. Not me obviously.

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      • pinklightsabre says:

        The same person who writes your best posts, your “other.”

        Like

  8. byebyebeer says:

    The kids need new shoes, stat. That is the best story about how your mom met John. It sounds straight out of a movie. Very nice that you all have a piece of jewelry from him too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pinklightsabre says:

      They do, they got new shoes…man we got our money’s worth out of those, though! Only like 10 euros each, and they wore them EVERY DAY for three months, through mud and Scottish moors. I actually took those boots out of the trash so I could photograph them; my mom threw them out when Dawn and I were away in Berlin. It’s funny how our lives can really be straight of a movie, and possibly more enjoyable if we look at it that way. Cheers to you and yours Kristen.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Gorgeous post. Again. I am going to enjoy pointing to your memoir in the international airport bookshops someday soon and bragging, “I met him when he was in Germany and we talked about writing. Nice guy. Talented, too!”

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    • pinklightsabre says:

      That’s lovely Jadi — thanks. Yes, we’re about out of here. Here and not you know. That Eagles song (I think Glenn Frey sung it), “Already Gone.” Bye and see you in 206 country, I hope (Seattle style). Actually, we’re 425 which isn’t as cool, but you get me. Enjoy the rest of your Frühling. Bill

      Like

  10. Now those are some well worn boots! 😀

    Like

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