Today a quiet requiem for Virginia, Teddy's mother, who passed peacefully yesterday at 90. She was a good woman with many complexities and charms, and she raised a remarkable daughter; for that alone, for giving life to my wonderful friend , I am deeply grateful to Virginia.
So then, trying to recover from a pesky sinus infection, eschewing alcohol and pumping antibiotics, I painfully turned down a chance to show up at what's probably the holiday party of the season and opted to stay home with the kitties tonight. They cleave close by, furry little epitomies of peacefulness, while I coax myself to relax in the sitting room that used to be our dining room. It's a cozy space now, with our oriental rug filling the room -- the hutch, my personal symbol of plenty, along one wall, and the couch I bought for my early life after my divorce providing soft solace. On my dad's barrister bookcase rescued from his pastoral study from long ago, is my funky little stereo/CD player, and I'm listening to Nick Spitzer's American Routes on Michigan Radio.
In the midst of a sad and unnerving time, it's momentary bliss. Tonight's show is a tribute Sam Cooke, and right now I'm hearing "You Got to Move," after other soulful favorites like "Little Red Rooster" and "Bring it On Home" and "Lost and Loving." Damn that guy could get down to it. I know I'm missing a great party tonight but Sam Cooke's soulful voice is making my melancholy seem not just okay, but right for this winter night.
And of course, it's a story with a tragic, mournful end. He was shot dead on Dec. 11, 1964. The music is a legacy not just of deep gospel roots and badboy energy, but something bigger about the human condition. Now he's singing the classic that wraps it all up: A Change Gonna Come. I'm shedding a tear -- soothing saltiness for the body and soul. My thoughts are with Teddy tonight, who is entering a whole new phase of life. Here's to our mothers, and the rich weave of gifts -- both troublesome and full of blessings -- they give us. Here's to Virginia.
The soft or shrill voice within us
7 years ago