Showing posts from October 27, 2021

Angels in Plain Clothes

  At the end of a long July weekend in the woods, surrounded by friends and mostly disconnected from the outside world, late afternoon was approaching, and it was time to start winding up our stay. I wanted to be home and unloaded by dark, so I started gathering my things and packing up to head back to town. I love to escape into spaces where it’s not immediately obvious which decade we’re in, and since I liked phones a lot better when they were attached to the wall, I usually stash my cell phone under the driver’s seat whenever I’m away from home, or with people I care about, or just being purposeful in giving my full attention to something without a screen. Over the course of a long weekend like the one that was ending, I might’ve checked the phone once or twice a day, and maybe I would’ve kept it out for a while to look something up or play some music, but I wouldn’t have kept it handy, and the last time I touched it that weekend I must’ve flaked on putting it back in the truck, bec

Unbroken Circles

       Outside of church, my earliest memories of music are sounds from a cheap transistor radio, playing in Mama’s kitchen from some place up higher than I could reach. And in the Deep South of the 1970’s and 80’s, radio mostly meant country music, where old hymns freely crossed over from Gospel music as bluegrass hits. And all these years later, when I hear the opening notes of an old classic like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” being plucked out on a banjo, when the good Dr. Ralph Stanley’s distinctive voice starts to weave lonesome lyrics about a mother’s funeral over and through a sweet symphony of pickin’ and strummin’ and fiddle playin’, I know just how the cool kitchen tiles of my childhood home felt in bare feet. I couldn’t help stomp clappin’ and whirly twirly fake cloggin’ all over my Mama’s kitchen floor then, and probably no matter how old I get, I’ll still have to carve myself out a minute or two of joyful stomp twirlin’ and heehaw-in’ around whenever that old favorite come