Saturday, July 28, 2012

and I'll be there...

Would you like to go to Ravinia?  -- she had asked when we were talking about my coming down to see her and her boyfriend.
It’s sold out for that night, but we can still find tickets.
Who’s playing?
James Taylor.

And so after work, she picks up sandwiches and wines at Pastoral and the three of us take the commuter train from downtown Chicago to Ravinia.

...downtown Chicago. I'm here, looking around for them.  Crazy downtown Chicago...

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Oh, I see her! In workday darks.

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On the approach to Ravinia, we’re slightly dazed. There's nothing accidental about this vast concert space. It's not a what the hell, let's wing it venue. It’s carefully tended. As we look around for a space to spread our tablecloth and set up chairs (imported, from Madison’s concerts on the square!), James Taylor begins to sing and right away you appreciate how really excellent the sound system here is.

For those with lawn tickets, the performer is remote, invisible. But you can hear him alright, as if he were speaking to you in the same room. (You can also stroll over toward the open auditorium and catch a glimpse of him in person. I did that.)

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We find a lovely spot and the food is so good and the wines, too, are great and it’s really just so sublime to sit on a cool evening, listening to music from those days... days when everything, absolutely everything seemed so tenuous and uncertain. That was then. Years pass and now here you are thinking --  uncertainty is how it is. Always there to keep you on your toes.

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But maybe that's just the way things played out for me. Each one lives her or his life differently. And that's a good thing.

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James Taylor’s last song is one that’s too familiar to so many of us. A few stand in circles of embrace, swaying, singing. I remember handwriting the words, carefully, in a letter to a friend, back in 1971 -- the year when I was freshly in the States for who knew how long. It was a lonely time for me.

...and that old north wind should begin to blow
keep your head together and call my name out loud
and soon I will be knocking upon your door...

I wanted someone to be knocking upon my door.

The train ride back is crowded, beautiful, swaying in the darkness of a perfect night.

Brunch in the morning – city brunch, which is where brunch makes sense because at the farmhouse it would have been called late breakfast and it would have been just oatmeal with fruit.

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And then I’m off, driving home. Sigh. I wish they lived three miles rather than three hours (on a good day) away.

But, I remember what she said to me – in all her adult years she has had a home that she loved to come back to at the end of a long day. And I have mine now. After a half dozen years of groping for it, it’s there – the door I’m so happy to open at the end of any day.

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Immediately I hit the garden, making adjustments, pulling dry stalks, watering the new babes that seem to need it most.

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In the evening, we play tennis, Ed and I. I’m not ready to keep score yet, but I’m awfully close to it.

We’re on the motorcycle, zipping after to Roman Candle, where we pick up a mushroom and extra garlic pizza. It’s tricky to carry a large pizza on a motorcycle. Ed places it on his lap, I hold onto it from behind.

We watch the Olympics. Or at least Isis and I watch. Ed gives up after the first hour.
Why don't you like the Olympics? 
I don't know... People cheering for their  promotes feelings of nationalism. 
No, of individual excellence! As if on cue, I wipe a tear for the Australian, for the Irishman, for the Dutch. Isis merely looks on.

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