Tuesday, October 14, 2014
From Hornets To Ladybugs
These are my two boys, also known as Unorganized Hancock, playing the Talking Heads song This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody ).
It's another selection from their performance at the Fryeburg Fair a week ago. This is the very last song I got on video. We recharged the battery in the camera between sets, but the kids outlasted it anyway. They played three shows, at one, two, and three o'clock. There was a particularly enthusiastic crowd for the third show, and the boys played a half-dozen encore songs, so the third set lasted for a full hour and ten minutes. All in all, they performed for 150 minutes, easy, not including two breaks. When I was a professional musician, a full day's work was three, forty-five minute sets. My boys were paid as adults, and earned it.
As far as I noticed, the Spare Heir never made a mistake. Not one. He's eleven. My wife told me he dropped a stick when I wasn't looking, but he just picks up another and never hesitates, so I didn't catch it. The Heir faltered here and there. Forgot a word. Fumbled over more than one Wes Montgomery lick. Then again, he had to play and sing for nearly three hours with only an eleven-year-old to help him. His might be the greater feat.
We fill the Spare Heir's bass drum with stuffed animals to be amusing, because he's been doing this since he was eight, but that's not the only reason. He plays too loud for the room they practice in. He plays too loud for everywhere if I don't stuff his drums. Playing loud is stupid, so I don't allow it. But he plays hard. Halfway through one of the songs, he looked at his brother, never missing a beat, and informed him over the microphone that the bass drum beater, which looks like a short tympani stick, and is operated by a foot pedal, had come flying off. He never stopped playing. I could have played those drums until Kingdom Come and still not loosened that clamp. It was fixed between songs, and off they went.
We have an abandoned bedroom in the attic that they practice in. It doesn't have any heat, or even any electricity for that matter. If the boys want to practice, they have to drag an extension cord all the way down the hall. The plaster is coming off the walls in big chunks. Until my Heir and I jacked up the house, the floor sloped like the Titanic two hours after they stopped for ice. It's still kinda roly-poly, but a dropped pencil doesn't make it all the way to the back wall anymore. The room used to be filled with hornets all the time. I'm allergic to hornets, and one sting will kill me in an instant, so I kept the drum lessons short. The roof over this room was open to the air when we moved here, and while we got rid of the squirrels when I climbed up there and fixed it, the hornets stayed. The windows in the dormer were in such bad shape that the hornets passed in and out through the defunct weight pockets and the window frames. My Heir and I got some old, salvaged windows from a neighbor's remodel, and some boards from another neighbor who was cleaning out his garage, and we installed the windows in place of the old ones, and trimmed it out with the free boards. Now the room is filled with ladybugs.
I hope my boys' lives will go from hornets to ladybugs in the same way -- with patient, unyielding effort. I am filled with doubts. How much better do they need to be before anyone notices that they're extraordinary?
[Update: Many thanks to Kathleen M. from Connecticut for her constant support of my boys. It is greatly appreciated]
[More up to date: Many thanks to Charles E. from The Land of Enchantment for his generous support. It is greatly appreciated.]