Seen the arrow on the doorpost

“And I know no one can sing the blues, like Blind Willie McTell” – Bob Dylan, Blind Willie McTell

9 months is a short time. It’s not an under appreciation of child-birth, it’s just my thought for the day. Today my brother got on a plane, which tempted me to play John Denver’s Leaving on a Jetplane but I withheld. We’d been living in the same city (five minutes away from each other) for the last 9 months, but today he headed off to live somewhere else. It’s been the first time since I was in college that we’ve been living in the same city and it has been a lot of fun, but like I said, 9 months is a short time.

“I traveled through East Texas. Where many martyrs fell”

We have the same nose. Voice too. A lot of similar mannerisms. And we both love Bob Dylan. People say we’re very similar to each other, which is probably true, but at the same time I think we’re becoming more and more different over time. Which is great, don’t get me wrong. I’m a fucking fool and he’d be a saint if only he believed they existed.

“Smell that sweet magnolia blooming”

My brother’s a special guy. He’s a great brother, the best actually (as cliché as that might sound), but above that he’s a special guy. If I took out all the great things he’s done for me I’d argue I’ve never met anybody like him. If you ever bump into him, get to know him. He’s a special guy.

“He’s dressed up like a squire. Bootlegged whiskey in his hand”

Around 2005 he spent 6 months in China and came back with a suitcase full of burned CDs and DVDs. I looked though the CDs and he’d clearly been hitting Dylan hard. As you can see special and smart, sorry ladies, he’s not single. When I say listening to Bob Dylan hard, I mean he’d been listening to a bunch of live concerts, bootlegs and everything he could get his hands on. Blind Willie McTell had been the priced jewel from his efforts. He came back thrilled of having discovered this song that Dylan wrote about a blues man who lived during the first half of the nineteen hundreds. It’s a great song… really, it’s a shame he’s not single.

“But power and greed and corruptible seed, seem to be all that there is”

I’m taller. Actually we’re the same height, but I always look about a foot taller in pictures, so I’m taller. Funnier is still up for grabs. Taste in movies, me. Looks, up for grabs. Everything else… his. No doubt about it. So far I haven’t written much about one my grandfathers (I only mentioned him briefly in a previous post), but for the purpose of this post I’ll say that until he died he was the most honorable person in my life. A father of nine, a loving husband and an incredible grandfather, when he passed away we all had our wind knocked out of us. I cried like a baby, as did everybody else. It was hard to envision being without somebody who gathered so many good qualities.

“Them charcoal gypsy maidens, can strut their feathers well”

Now we’re a big family, and my grandfather influenced all of us in one way or another… but if you ask me who reflects his personality and good nature the most, it’s my brother. I used to think nobody had inherited my grandfather’s good nature, just a little of this and a little of that, but now I’m convinced it’s my brother who reminds me the most of my grandfather. Hardly ever a bad thought, if he has one hardly ever will it become a bad gesture, and if it does he’s always the first to realize it. I can’t say that of a lot of people. I’m grateful we shared the last 9 months because I think I’ve gotten to know him even better than I did before. I enjoyed my brother the brother as much as I always, with the added perk of discovering more about my brother the special guy, the one I was talking about before. I hope I get to live 5 minutes (or 10) away from him at some other point during my life. 9 months is a short time.

“And I know no one can sing the blues, like Blind Willie McTell”

I’m not as pretty as I was

“And you be the Captain, and I’ll be no-one” Kasey chambers, The Captain

The longest relationship I’ve ever had lasted 5 years. Well, actually, a little over 5 years. It’s with out a doubt the relationship that’s taught me the most, so I remember it well.

“Well I have handed all my efforts in, I searched here for my second wind”

It was her birthday a couple of weeks ago and I sent her an email wishing her all the best. We usually exchange emails about 2-3 times a year and birthdays are always one of those times. It got me thinking… could I remember what I gave her on any of the birthdays we were together? I could not.

“I’ve kicked myself at times because I’ve lied”

I didn’t give up, these last two weeks I kept on thinking… and a few came to mind. The last year we were together I was living abroad and I sent her a foot-long panoramic photograph. I remember the picture, she was standing pretty along a ridge that overlooked the craters of two volcanoes to her left and right. I think she liked it… Then I remembered that our first year together I gave her a reproduction of the first page of a British paper covering the fall of the Berlin Wall (a time in history I knew she particularly liked). I think she liked that as well… Finally, the last one I could remember was a fancy hour-long couple’s massage at a spa. I liked that…

“So I will have to learn to stand my ground. I’ll tell ’em I won’t be around”

So I’m happy I was able to remember 3 out of the 5, even though the massage got me thinking that I kind of mailed that one in and that I could’ve come up with something better. She was a great girl and I have absolutely no regrets of spending 5 years of my life with her. Our relationship should have ended 1 or 2 years before because we seemed to have different expectations, but we had a lot of fun and, as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the relationship taught me a lot.

“And if I tread upon your feet, you just say so”

That was not the relationship I wanted, but it taught me what I want out of one. When I look back I always think it was time well spent, 5 years was a bargain when I think about what I took from the experience. Plus I met a great person, from a nice family, that I still keep in touch with today. I don’t remember the fights, the struggle of being long distance (3 out of the 5 years) or the periodic discussions on “where is this going?” whenever it came up that I might go off to work abroad. I remember the good stuff. We traveled to more than a dozen countries, shared a ton of laughs, made friends in common and enjoyed seeing each other become something better than what we were when we first met (at least in her case). There are only a few people I get really excited when I hear something great has happened to them, she is one of them.

“Did I forget to thank you for the ride”

This song is for her. Well, actually it’s for me, to remind me of her. I really like this song, but she loves it (or perhaps loved, who knows). She once told me that she listened to it occasionally when she missed me. I honestly don’t miss being with her, but I’ll take a page out of her playbook and use it to remember her… that I like doing.

“I tend to feel as though I owe one to you”

 

Trying to please to the calling

“Well, it’s a marvelous night for a Moondance. With the stars up above in your eyes” Van Morrison, Moondance

A few months ago I asked my girlfriend a very simple question: How many men (ex-boyfriends, admirers, flings, friends…) have told you that the song Brown Eyed Girl Reminds them of you?

“A fantabulous night to make romance, ‘Neath the cover of October skies”

She laughed, digressed a little bit saying she liked the song and then kind of insinuated that a few might have. I’m sure they have, she’s a pretty girl with dark eyes. I didn’t get the number, but my guess would be no less than 3. I can’t blame them really, Van Morrison released an incredible song with the overall message being “you’re my brown eyed girl”, what else needs to be said? Somebody should try to measure the amount of sex that Van Morrison has brought to this world, perhaps only rivaled by the amount induced by Leonard Cohen. Aren’t people at MIT looking into this? Undoubtedly there’s a significant group of guys out there who should send out a collective ‘thank you’ to Van Morrison. I’m definitely one of them, but not because of Brown Eyed Girl.

“And all the leaves on the trees are falling, To the sound of the breezes that blow”

I have never, never, never used the Brown Eyed Girl line and I think every woman should roll their eyes if they ever heard it used on them, but then again who am I to judge. I’d probably love it if somebody told me I remind them of Neil Diamond’s Solitary Man, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird or the Highwaymen’s Highwayman. So let’s just all say thank you, thank the artists in question and, most importantly… enjoy the sex or at least get a kick out of somebody rolling their eyes at us. Hopefully it’s the first, but the latter can be fun too.

“And when you come my heart will be waiting. To make sure that you’re never alone”

I know I need to thank Van Morrison, but in my case for Moondance. It’s been my favorite/go-to romantic song for years, as well as my favorite Van Morrison song in general. I first heard it as a teenager in the 90’s when my father bought one of his greatest hits CD that featured Moondance (third track). Although I didn’t start to really like him until several years later, when I began driving and I picked up that same CD to listen to in the car. I remember at the time I was using my grandfather’s car which he wasn’t using anymore. It was 20 years old at the time and it’s still running today, it’s as boxy a car as cars get… and for some reason it has a CD player my grandfather decided to have installed. Inside that shitty car without power steering I discovered how good Van Morrison was, and in the upcoming years discovered the seductive powers of Moondance. I don’t think I’ve used those seductive powers much to my advantage, but I definitely discovered they were there. Ripe for the picking, pro bono courtesy of Van Morrison. Well, not really pro bono at the time, but for the moderate price of 15 bucks.

“Can I just have one a’ more Moondance with you, my love. Can I just make some more romance with a-you, my love”