Monday, November 26, 2007

The mirror

I was reminded last night of what really matters in life, proof positive that the sweetest joys of this journey have nothing to do with silver or gold.

Oh, I felt so bad over the holidays. Rough cold. Really didn't want to get out of bed, but work and familial obligations -- not to mention sanity -- required that I do otherwise.

But when my friend Andrea called up to suggest dinner and music at Barley's, I forgot about the cold for awhile.

I've been letting things bother me lately. Everything and nothing. Know what I mean? That, and recent disappointments, have left me feeling like I'm singing to empty tables, to quote my man Sinatra.

Sometimes it does you good just to talk -- about anything and nothing at all. And when the words are peppered around your favorite kind of music, well, talk about a double whammy.

Seems like here lately I've tried to dissect the reasons why music (and books and film and whatever else) remains a big part of my life, carrying with it the ability to lift the spirits, and make one forget all about those empty tables. And I think it's, at least in part, because the good songs -- the ones that actually mean something -- make you feel less alone in this great big world of ours, reminding you that others have traveled down a similar road themselves.

And, heck, it's so much fun too. My favorite singer pulled a couple of gems out of her bag of tricks last night, fine covers of Lenny Welch's underrated "Since I Fell For You" and Smokey Robinson's "Tracks of My Tears." RobinElla's eclectic taste is a constant delight.

Listening to the happy rhythms, ("Teardrops" never sounded so beautiful as the moment when Billy Contreras took the mournful lead on his fiddle, making you feel it), and talking my way through some of the emptiness -- well, it made me realize again what life is all about.

It will never be fame and fortune, earthly possessions or political power. It will never be about impressing others, drawing attention to yourself, showing off, telling lies, breaking hearts.

No, for me, life will forever be about good friends and good music, endless sunsets and "Starry Night." It's wrapped up in listening, not worrying so much about yourself, stopping to smell the roses and doing good deeds without others watching.

Maybe my favorite TV private investigator Thomas Magnum said it best:

"The best mirror you'll ever have is the face of a friend."

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