Saturday, February 23, 2002

Christine Lavin gives wonderful concerts. She's constantly writing new songs and updating the topical references in her old songs. She's warm, witty, and spontaneous, and still has an amazing singing voice at 50.

She sang two of my favorite songs, the hilarious "It's A Good Thing He Can't Read My Mind", and the serious "The Kind Of Love You Never Recover From". Happiness was had. Lavin gave away CDs to the oldest and the youngest person in the audience. Daughter was 11. Another little girl was 9. All was nearly lost when I piped up "My son is 8... but he's asleep." Christine decided he qualified. Son, on way to parking lot: "That's the first time I ever won something while I was asleep."

I felt bad for the 9-year-old, but that's because I have a lifetime supply of Liberal Protestant Guilt.

Son woke up in time for the fire-baton (okay, glowlight-baton) finale. Christine asked if he was still asleep. We said, no, he was awake. She said "He was probably dreaming he was at a concert... then he woke up and WAS at a concert! That kid's gonna need therapy!"

Friday, February 22, 2002

I went to Indiana, where my father got visibly better by the time I left. The highlight of the visit was a 4-hour Cutthroat Hearts game with my parents and my brother, in which my father got that old card-shark gleam in his eye. (He's a retired mathematics/computer science professor who worked his way through the Navy playing poker.) It was just like old times.

My home town has gotten greyer and sadder. Not only are a lot of the landmark stores I remember closed (yet another dying American downtown), but I see more shabby unpainted houses every time I visit, and the school system has 200 fewer students each year. My mother says that none of their friends' children settled in Richmond after college -- there's just nothing to attract them back.

When I was a kid people worked at Alcoa, or at the Wayne Works (you may have ridden one of their schoolbuses with the Indian head on the side), or at the Purina plant, or at Gray Iron Works. All of them closed now. The new factories that came to town left when their tax incentives failed.

I came home to a very tight work deadline which is concurrent with a househunting visit to Silicon Valley. See you after the dust settles. When, I hope, there will be time for essays again.