Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Monday, June 17, 2019

CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith & Life for the Years of Winter — TALKING OURSELVES INTO THE WORLD

Friday night we went to a concert on the steps of the IU Union building, by a band listed on the publicity flyer as the So n So’s. [Where is The Apostrophe Protection Society when you really need it?] They cover 80s and 90s songs, which means all their offerings were far too new for us ever to have heard of them. None of them were done originally by Guy Lombardo or Lawrence Welk, or even one of the new groups, like The Beatles.

The concert, of course, was not designed for old people. It was arranged by the IU Union Board, which advertises itself as “IU’s largest student programming body.” I saw a notice about it on Facebook, and I knew we’d be the only old people there, but it sounded like something we could talk ourselves into doing.

We decided recently that we needed to start doing that—talking ourselves into going out into the world—because of the meddling of Gloria Emerson, who recently told Helen that she and Joe had been talking themselves out of going out and felt they were too young just to sit around home all the time, and so they needed to reverse that approach. Since they are five years older than we, well, you can see what happened. We went to a student concert, with a band called the So n So’s…

It’s a good thing we did, because not only we the only old people there, we were the only people there. The only “real” people—audience. We weren’t the only bodies present, but the other 16 were all required to be there--the band, the band’s tech guys, a couple of band parents, reporters and photographers from both local newspapers, the food truck and snow cone truck people, members of the Union Board, in their identifying t-shirts. There were many people, including students, walking the sidewalks in the pleasant evening air, only a block away, in front of The Gables on Indiana Ave, and up and down Kirkwood Ave, but either they had not gotten the publicity, or they had heard the So n So’s before.

There were no chairs. The Union Board folks had set up a dozen high tables, the kind where you stand and lean your elbows on as you sip the drink you got at the bar, if you were at a drinking establishment, but we found a concrete retaining wall. No back support, but better than standing. There was a fairly stiff breeze, which kept pushing a garbage can on casters up against me, but I managed to keep it from rolling on toward the statue of Herman B Wells, IU’s perpetual president, by keeping my knee against it.

It was really quite a pleasant evening. The breeze was stiff but gentle, the air was dry, the band well-tuned, although tuneless. We enjoyed ourselves. Along about the fourth song, though, a couple with two little girls showed up, and our backs were hurting, so we snuck off behind the black bar-b-q truck with the big “Follow the smoke” sign and went home for ice cream floats. [Dr. Vucescu, please note that I had already taken my diabetes medicine.]

I’m glad we went. It’s so easy when you’re old and it gets dark early in the evening and it’s cold and snowy out, and there is a game or “Big Bang Theory” rerun on TV… it’s so easy to talk yourself out of going off into the world. When you can see to drive all the way to nine o’clock, and you don’t go to bed until 9:22 anyway, and the air is pleasant, and the air is full of music, you need to remember that the world is still there, and you still belong in it. Even if we don’t feel like it, we need to talk ourselves into going out into that world. So the next time we hear that the So n So’s are playing, we’re going to tell Joe and Gloria.

However, I read in our church newsletter that one of our musicians is forming a small, mobile “choir” to go to the homes of old people to sing hymns and folk songs, a cover band for Charles Wesley and Stephen Foster. I want to be supportive of our church’s ministries, and this one can’t be successful unless they have homes where the people stay put so that they can come sing, so I think…

John Robert McFarland

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.”

[Rock ‘n Roll is about the first half of that sentence; Country is about the second half.]

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