Uncle Louie Kath Dad and Hunson a dunson and Me

23me-n-uncle-lou-dad-kath.jpgThis is a great old shot of Uncle Louie looking very dapper with his beard. My sister Kathy is smiling and holding Hunson a Dunson (our dog) and my Dad with his smiling eyes almost shut and little old me. Uncle Louie took me to every single Planet of the Apes movie. He taught me how to sing and tried to teach me piano but then took me to see Julian Bream at The Hollywood Bowl and I fell in love with the guitar. We found an old guitar in the attic of our new California home on Holliston Street. My first guitar teacher had a glass eye and a wooden leg and he smelled like mothballs. (it's really hard to know the smell of moth's balls. Their little mothy legs are hard to pull apart) I wanted to rock like Elvis Presley but my teacher wasn't having it. He brought over a book of The Mel Bay guitar method. It was so boring but to my Mom and Dad's credit, they made me stick with it. I wrote songs for my dog. He loved them and would show doggy approval by licking my face and eventually making me sneeze. The words to my first song were, "hunson a dunson, where's your bunson? I thought I saw it the other day. Was it walking? Or was it it talking? I don't know, I could not say!" The song had to be sung in an English accent like Herman's Hermits. My sister was my hero and still is. She is 2 years older and we were born on the same day. I love her very much. She used to protect my wheezing, stuttering, asthmatic skinny little body from the bullies in the neighborhood. She gave me all her Joni Mitchell records and taught me how to really listen to the words. Life is really weird because I always thought i was going to be a brain surgeon. But I hated math and loved the radio. I could memorize the words to any song and so could Kath. She taught me how to harmonize. Now as I get ready to leave Kansas City this morning after a 23 song set (I love the number 23) at a very smokey bar (When are they going to get with the program and make folks smoke outside in Kansas?) I am off to a house concert that is going to have cats. I need to find some allergy pills fast. But that's not what I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about how fast the years go by. Like a bullet train. One big blur like a shooting star in the desert on a hot Palm Springs night. One minute you're singing songs from the movie "Oliver" at a piano recital for Uncle Louie and the next you're traveling in a van singing songs for people every night in some new town. Not just people, but really beautiful souls all trying to eek out a living and looking for relief in music and song. And the world just keeps on spinning and spinning and spinning. I guess I'm getting sentimental in my old age but it's all so fucking beautiful it makes my eyes well up and it stains my salt suit. Peace in 2008 vote for change SJJP