Off I went on the subway last night to the first of my three concerts at Hugh’s Room, a small folk music venue. One of my musical heroes – David Francey – was the reason for the evening. I was given a table for one tucked into a corner at the back. I had a great sightline to the stage and “back” was actually pretty close. I arrived really early because I had made a dinner reservation.
As people started coming in, I looked at them. Almost all couples (sigh) and hardly anybody as old as me (no sigh). Lots of laughing, lots of hugging … the room was bright and sweet. I sat back in my little alcove and smiled a bit. The universe was flowing along as it was meant to do.
A couple maybe in their 60s took their seats at the table in front of me. She was on the left and he on the right. I didn’t see them touch. As David began singing, the gentleman leaned his head way to the right. At first, I concentrated on maintaining the tiny window I was left with, but later I let in the distance between man and woman. I urged them closer in my brain but that was not to be.
At intermission … how wrong I was. My unknown friends shared large smiles. He put his arm over her shoulder and she rubbed that arm lovingly. And so my persona as keen analyst of the human condition frittered away.
In front of these two was a waist-high wall. Beyond that towards the stage, the seating was lower so all I could see of those folks was their heads. During the break, I saw a grey-haired fellow right at the front, looking ahead. A woman was leaning the back of her head against his back. How lovely, I thought. Just the type of relationship I enjoy observing.
How wrong I was. It was a trick of the eye, my view of this couple. In fact, they weren’t a couple. They weren’t even at the same table. She was leaning forward, talking to her friends. Gosh, a fellow can only be wrong so many times. Can’t he?
And then there was David’s music. He creates word pictures that any human being can relate to … all the emotions that bubble up over the course of a lifetime.
The joy of youth, as revealed in the song “Paper Boy”:
And my feet flew in the morning light
Racing the dawn as the sky grew bright
And everything in the world was right
When I was a paper boy
The angst of teenage passion (“Broken Glass”):
Saw you standing in the cafeteria line
I’d have given the world just to make you mine
Saw you at your locker, in the high school hall
And it didn’t take a minute for my heart to fall
The loss of love (“The Waking Hour”):
She was once my heart’s delight
My need and my desire
She was my day, she was my night
My water and my fire
And I was once the same to her
When we still walked together
But the heavy heart at the waking hour’s
Expecting heavy weather
Thank you, David, for your humanity
And the same gratitude for my fellow audience members