Monday, July 25, 2005

My Girl


We traveled to New Hampshire this weekend, to Lake Winnepesaukee. Or as my son calls it, Lake Hockeypesockey. It's a long haul from Marion, Mass, but a new wonder has appeared on our horizon. In a fit of benevolence, generosity, and good sense, The Big One's Nonni (Grandmother for all you non-Italians) gave a portable DVD player to him for his birthday present, and to celebrate his scholarship this last term. She has re-discovered fire, or a close approximation of it. Because one run through The Spongebob Movie and The Rutles, and we were already at the Lake before the kids even knew we had left home.

Alexander, Caesar, Magellan, Columbus, Newton, McCormick, Edison, Einstein- pfffft. All pikers compared to Nonni, and whoever got up one morning, drove to work, and said to the people in the cubicles outside their office: "Let's make a DVD player you can take in the car. Have it on my desk by close of business Friday."

The lake's a whole different animal from the ocean. It's really enormous, so the scale of it doesn't suffer, but it's a "power boat" place. Sailboat types don't care for power boats, and vice versa, but you "get" the whole power boat thing at Winnepesaukee. Walk to the end of the path, walk to the end of the dock, step on board, and blast out to the middle of the lake. We did just that, in the middle of our first night, with only the full moon for our illumination, and were safe and content, and owned that lake from end to end, or so it seemed. There's really no sound more pleasant on a hot summer night than shutting off the motor on a boat, and drifting across the moonlit water, the gentle windblown waves lapping the side of the skiff, and the sound from countless lakeside homes drifting out across the lakes, soft and indistinct, but recognizable as the sound of laughter and conviviality, and, well, fun.

During the day, swimming, and jet skis, and waterskiing, and the dumb fun of being dragged on an inner tube. The Wee One sits in the water to his waist, and splashes, and giggles, while the Big One practices his backstroke swimming lessons ten feet further out: Eagle, Soldier, Monkey, Eagle Soldier, Monkey... The Queen watches both easily, as the beach is filled with people just like us, and everybody is everybody else's friend instantly, and the children drift easily into hijinks with their numerous new compatriots. No one is really a stranger, if they have children and a mortgage. The rest is details.

At night, there was a party, right there on the sand, and a band played everybody else's favorite song, and wasted no time with anything obscure and nothing angry sounding. Music that sounds fun is rarer than it should be these days. The music industry has become a competition to see who can express deep emotional scars and trumpet dissonant lifestyles to go with the dissonant chords, wrapped in chainsaw sounds and screaming, and forgetting that life's really not all that bad. I've noticed that among people who's lives truly aren't easy, they never listen to depressing music. Life's too short to have misery for entertainment too. Teenagers like nasty sounding stuff, but I suspect that people with four square meals a day, a summer house, and a jet ski have little to complain about, and must enjoy snarling pop music mostly as a change of pace from their easy life. I suspect that ghetto music has become nastier as life has improved there as well. Forty years ago, it was no picnic to live in a Detroit slum, and they listened to Motown. Now rappers spit out venom, and live like pashas. Such is life.

The Motown still sounds, fine, if you're interested. We heard some, on Saturday, and it still encapsulates our shared experience, and the pleasure of a simple melody, well sung:

I've got sunshine, on a cloudy day
When it's cold outside- I've got the Month of May
I'd guess you'd say- What can make me feel this way
My Girl

Perhaps as you get older, and the number of funerals you attend begin to outnumber the weddings, and you've tried to catch the curve balls that life throws everyone, rich or poor, and dropped a few, you begin to value the person that can distill a smile, or better still, a pat on the back or a hopeful dream, and can sugar-frost that mental medicine with music and recharge your batteries.

I don't need no money- Fortune or fame
I've got all the riches baby- One man can claim
I'd guess you'd say- What can make me feel this way?
My Girl

How did those men from Detroit know all about my wife, and sing about her, four months before she was born? It's a mystery.

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