Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Righteous Inclinations

It’s been so long since I have been able to sit here and write with ease that I have a bit of a feeling that I am a journal land visitor instead of a resident. BUT IT’S ALMOST OVER!

The doctor gave me a ballpark figure of three months convalescence. It has been three months and a week or two. I have been obedient and quiet, but the end is near and I am so happy I can almost hear the ’YAHOO’ I’m going to scream when the doctor says, “You no longer have a wound for me to specialize on so GO AND FALL FROM YOUR WHEELCHAIR NO MORE!”

The Apligraf was miserable for the three weeks it was transferring its wonder to my wound, but the results have been absolutely amazing. Total freedom is so close I can almost taste it...

To be honest, I grabbed a bit of independence without asking permission. I have started driving again. My granddaughter called me from high school and said that I had to get her out of there and I could tell by the stress in her voice that she meant ASAP. Without giving my leg any thought I grabbed my keys and set off on my assigned mission. It wasn’t a happy event, after all it was a rescue, but it was delightful being the person behind the wheel again. (The story behind her telephone call is a tale for another day.)

Having been presented with the opportunity to put my keys in the ignition, my hands on the steering wheel, and my foot on the pedal of MY car I wasn’t about to come home and give all that heady freedom back to someone else. I have been driving ever since. And therein lies the introduction to what I really want to share with you today.

I have to be very careful with music. It gets inside me and takes me with it. It can carry me away from this veil, plunge me into a hole of despair, wrack me with sorrow and tears, or make me feel so free and so happy that I feel as if I AM the music. I love it all, from Country Western to Classical.

Bill Medley & Bobby Hatfield, The Righteous Brothers

My 6’8” friend, that I have written about several times, and I loved to dance. We could dance all night and go looking for more. He went to high school with and was friends with the ’Righteous Brothers’. Remember them? Bobby Hatfield had the voice that was more alto; Bill Medley had the voice that went down to a low baritone. They were big hits when I was a young girl. I loved Bill Medley’s voice.

In the 90’s the Righteous Brothers were giving a concert locally. My friend asked me if I wanted to meet the man behind that wonderful ’low’ voice, and when I hardly let him finish the sentence before I had him in the car to go buy the tickets he took my answer to be “yes”.

Because of my wheelchair we were seated at a long table that had dozens of people packed almost on top of one other. There were about 20 of those tables and we were seated so tightly we were similar to sardines in a can. But once again, because of the wheelchair, we were placed at the end of the table facing the stage. It was a great advantage. The minute the music and that deep voice started singing I was gone. Did you know that you can dance from a wheelchair and never move the wheels. That’s what I did. The music and I flew over that crowd. The Righteous Brothers were singing just for me. No one else existed. It was me and the music. I swayed, I twisted, and I flew. It was absolutely one of the most delightful concert experiences I have ever had.

My friend laughingly whispered to me that several people at our table found me scandalous. He said there were clicked tongues, and hushed references to the disgraceful woman in the wheelchair. But it didn’t matter to me. All that mattered was the music.

When the concert was over a woman came up to me and asked if she could talk to me outside. When we connected through the crowd milling on the concourse she threw her arms around me and laughed so hard I thought she was a bit wacky. She said that she had been at that same theatre a week before for another concert and she had been thrown out because she had done exactly what I had done. She threw her arms over her head and laughed into the night sky. “You had them, you had them. They were afraid to throw you out because you’re in a wheelchair.” And then she laughed even harder. Behind her aquiet man caught her eye and crooked his finger. She went to his side and he whispered to her for a second of two. Then she turned around and, with her joy subdued, walked over to me and politely said, “He says that I have to tell you that I was recently paroled out of prison.”

“What does that have to do with your joy over the music and my apparently inappropriate dancing?” I answered.

And she yelped with laughter again. For just a few minutes on a concourse a woman fresh out of prison and I found pure joy together because of the music of the “Righteous Brothers”. I love that memory and what music brings to my life.

And then there was yesterday. The beagle and I had just taken my grandson to work (that’s another great story I have for you). We were all alone in the car and we had a bit of a drive ahead of us so I grabbed one of my Waylon Jennings CD’s and slipped it in the player. All of a sudden my car filled with the voice that, to me, is THE voice.

Waylon Jennings

I believe every woman has that one voice, that voice that carries them away. It would probably give me some class if I could say that my voice of voices was Pavorotti, and although I derive great pleasure from listening to him, it is Waylon Jennings that sends me into orbit. Waylon was anything but handsome. He wasn‘t one of those men that normaly sends your heart soaring, but if he had knocked on my door and sung me a song I would have done anything he wanted. “What do you want sweetheart? The world is yours if you just keep singing.”

Put Waylon on the sound system and I’d never say, “Not tonight dear. I have a headache“. Waylon’s voice surrounding me could convince me that headaches didn’t exist. I cant explain it ... I can just feel it.

As the beagle and I were driving along with the windows down and ’the voice’ filling my mind with memories of all the dancing my 6’8” friend and I did it suddenly dawned on me that we had never gone to a Jennings concert.

Then the laughter hit me. After what happened at the Righteous Brothers concert he wasprobably scared to death that my wheelchair and I would storm the stage of a Waylon concert. He might have been right too!

Life has moved on and my friend, Waylon, and my legs have all left me, but the freedom of being able to drive my own car with Waylon’s music surrounding me, and the beagle shaking his head in the back seat was one of the most spirit lifting things that has happened in these three long confining months.


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