Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spring Break Part III: Homeward Bound

Could I drag this out any longer? Have I mentioned that it's nearly impossible to finish things now that I'm a parent? It's 9:30 on a Sunday night, I'm exhausted, and yet I'm determined finish this Lonesome Dove-like saga lest it end up on "The Pile" with everything else I've started in the past six months.

When I was a kid, I remember a certain box of Tuna Helper sitting in my dad's kitchen cupboard for three relationships and more than seven years. It became a running joke with my friends and until this moment I always thought it was an indication of my dad's domestic indolence. Now I'm convinced that the Tuna Helper was around since my birth, that my dad fully intended to dispose of it, but eventually resigned to including it in the price when he sold his house.

Onward and upward and downward and homeward...bound.

A few weeks ago, as I was driving around with Amari and listening to the soothing sounds of Simon and Garfunkle, I was swept into that dichotomous feeling of nostalgia - heavy and heart-wrenching yet wonderfully warm and safe.

"Tonight I'll sing my songs again,
I'll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me,
in shades of mediocrity,
like emptiness in harmony,
I need someone to comfort me."

Check it out:

I wondered why I was having such a strong reaction to these words. I remember loving that song during my college days, leaving the album in my CD changer along with Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks,"for weeks, but it felt like more than that. I remember my mother playing another S & G song "Sound of Silence"  on her guitar and I wondered if she played this one, too - before the childhood amnesia wiped it from my memory. I couldn't explain it, nor did I need to, but it got me thinking about the songs I've been playing for Amari on our drives, the curious impact they may have on her years from now as she's making sense of her world - perhaps driving with her own child.

One song in particular - "Lucky" by Jason Mraz and Colby Caillat - has become an excellent sedative for Amari on car rides. While I was learning to play it on the guitar, Amari got more than her share of both the song and of me trying to sing. Eventually, she seemed to enjoy the recognition, the vocal connection to the dad/driver she couldn't see. On one drive over the hill, she started fussing every time the song ended, but as soon as I played it again, she was quiet. I ended up listening to it about fifteen times before reaching my destination. Fortunately, it's a really good song. And yes, I  do the girl's parts, too. Only when Carrie's not in the car.

When I shared this with Carrie on the way back from Tahoe, she said "Lucky" was one of the songs she played while Amari was in utero and during the birth. Good thing I was paying attention. She then pulled out the birthing CD and we tried playing the songs that Carrie listened to most often while she was pregnant with Amari. The results were both positive and consistent - more than just lucky, wink, wink - and we made it from South Shore to Davis without having to sit in the back.

Our stop in Davis was much too brief. We visited a friend of mine with whom I share many of my college memories. Although she began as a friend of a friend, Diana ended up feeling like family, and the visit felt no different. I couldn't remember the last time I'd seen her - maybe five or six years agoe - but she welcomed us into her home, entertained us with animated stories of the times in between, introduced us to her beautiful family, and sent us packing with a car full of toys and clothes for Amari. Thank you, Diana. Let's keep the stories animated but the times in between much shorter. Here's the Berti family sans daddy Lorenzo who was in San Francisco for a conference.

                                          Diana, Dylan, and Daphne

Unfortunately, when we woke up in Tahoe Thursday morning our car looked like this

which meant that we had to delay our departure until the roads cleared. Ultimately, this meant a shorter visit with Diana, while Matt of "Almost Perfect" fame had to be cut out of the itinerary all together. On the plus side, it meant that once I got over not seeing Matt again, I had time for a quick photo shoot with Amari. Turns out she's a freakin' rock star, but without the alcohol, drugs, vomiting, and incarceration. Well, sometimes the vomiting.

                    Looks like your run-of-the-mill guitar case...

                                           but on the inside...

 a future album cover

                                                   See ya later, Babaji

In the spirit of pictures being worth way more words than I feel like writing, I would like to add that, even though we didn't stop to see Matt, when we drove by his exit in Fairfield I was able to capture a "mind picture" of just how much fun Amari would have had with him.

Matt is very happy if not a little creepy in my mind pictures

It's good to be home...

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