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April 1, 2009
'Tis April Fool’s when the St. Stupid’s Day Parade happens every year in San Francisco’s Financial District – another reason, perhaps, why we do live here . . .
But . . . I do not love April, not anything like October. April is my Birthday Month, nonetheless, and time has come to plan at least a week of birthday celebrations.
Miss Louise, when best friend Mary and I were kids, would give us her green light so we could go barefoot on April 1st. ‘Twas thus then and shall ever be. April 1st. Barefoot.
By mid-summer, Mary and I could and did run across the rocks up the gravel road with no need for shoes. But not on the 1st day of April. We were reminded every year . . . we were just tenderfoots with tender feet. No hope of running on the gravel in early Spring, yet hope still springs eternal this day every year. Miss Louise is turning over about typos and grammar . . . I know this to be true.
Dr. Leon has gifted me a CD of himself singing gospel tunes. I listened to it yesterday. I listened to it all the way through while driving down to San Jose. His voice is a melodious and mature one now. I like it better than I did when he sang for us in high school. I have not heard him sing for . . . well, shall we say, several decades, but I’ve always loved that he is by, for and about music.
Dr. Leon begins his CD with a spoken essay about “home” and what it means going back to Rawhide, his family’s ranch there in central Mississippi where we grew up. He talks about going home or coming home as a source of solace and recalls his peaceful walks in the woods.
Among all the tunes in the collection on the CD, that perennial favorite “How Great Thou Art” struck me as most familiar and one I could sing along with, passing the Menlo Park and Palo Alto exits on California Highway 101, going on down the peninsula freeway in LaLa Land. Yes, I confess to singing gospel tunes once more here in LaLa Land.
I have learned the difference between freeway and expressway, the former being in California and the latter in New York. Both, however, can be extended parking lots. I have also learned the difference between singing gospel songs because you are serious and singing gospel songs for the pure joy of the musicology, the lore, regionalisms and culture . . . dare I say "southern culchah" or the appreciation thereof.
Dr. Leon might come to visit this year to check out the boys in the Castro. He complains with vigor when I do not write here about my memories of growing up. Perhaps this entry will sufficeat least a while. There are no pumpkins to speak of this month, however, so I shall recount that today I learned while watching Matha Stewart on TV that the birthstone for April, the diamond, is a symbol for . . . innocence. I believe I have lost mine. Diamonds and innocence alike, that is. Martha's lost hers too, you say?
Dr. Leon is the man, my first grade sweetheart, I should have married him - after Liz’s father, of course but only because he is her father. I should have had Dr. Leon's children. It is too late now.
Thus, I am just waiting to be "Grand Betty" when I can reaffirm Miss Louise's grand tradition. I, too, shall then be telling kids it is okay. Go barefoot today. Feel the cool of young grass blades between your feet. So tender and new they are now, before becoming dusty, dry and hot with Summer heat there in the rich Delta cotton country.
Photo Source Unknown
Entered 10:30 PM
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