Saturday, July 17, 2010

just now catching my breath

I sat on the edge of my seat the other night; Balcony B, Row 6, Seat 11, Lakewood Theater, Dallas.

I sipped chardonnay from a plastic cup and twiddled my thumbs; sip, sip, twiddle, twiddle, sip, sip, twiddle, twiddle. And then, there he was.

Welcome to Dallas, Jamie Cullum.

The theater packed a sold out crowd of serious followers, no longer twentysomethings. Everyone came to see and hear, and Jamie didn't disappoint. He belted, he banged, he crooned, and yes, he jumped off the piano. Twice.

When the show was over, I sat awhile in the old, worn out, velvet seat which had tilted me a bit to the right all night, and I thought. I thought about my dad.

Kevin often tells me the best pictures are those we store in our head. Usually, I say, "Yeah, Babe...." Click, click, click. But that night I decided to lock the camera in the car.

Watching the roadies break down the stage, I thought of my dad's rich history with jazz. He loves it so. He saw Billie several times. Ditto Frank. And there was Ella, Gene Krupa, Duke Ellington, Teddy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Peggy Lee, Arthur Prysock, Anita O'Day, Carmen McRae, Duango Rinehardt, June Christy, Chris Conner, Bobbie Scott, Rosemary Clooney, Eddie Heywood, Sweets Edison, Lockjaw Davis, Joe Mooney....

His eyes light up when he tells me about these evenings. He remembers where, when, with whom, how many sets they played, what songs they played, and probably what he drank. (He won't tell me how much but I have a really good idea.) Yet of all these nights with all of these famous musicians and singers, he has no pictures.


I knew this night would be memorable for me, for a lot of different reasons. I also knew I'd be surrounded by instant video, texting of instant video, and you tube posting of video, which I was. That's exactly why I left the camera behind.

I wanted what my dad has.

My complete attention was on Jamie and the band, with no concern for whether I'd framed or timed the myriad of possible shots 'just right'. I was free. I was as in the moment as one could be.

I want my eyes to light up in years to come, when I tell Kevin for the umpteenth time, all about the show, and I know they will; I've stored every single picture in my head.

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