Sunday, November 10, 2013

the day the music died

If they had been open . . .
at four o'clock four days ago, I would have climbed those stairs to claim a stool at the bar.  They are odd stools in a way; pale gray resembling driftwood, bringing to mind places far from here.  But they grew on me, those stools. 

If there hadn't been that fire . . .
I'd have enjoyed an afternoon drink in this place I think of as my neighborhood bar though when the tab is paid, I've a good half-hour drive home.

Instead, I pulled in because I had to see. 

Everything looked and felt out of kilter.  Plants were thriving on pedestals, mail was overflowing, stuffed in a box I'd never noticed.  No one was coming or going.  The cheery sidewalk easel was gone. 

I heard Don McLean tell me the music died.

Bad news on the doorstep
I couldn't take one more step

I made myself peer through the window.  

I can still remember how that music used to make me smile 
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while
That was my plan back in June when Spoke hired the Mark McKenzie Quartet for the night.  From the cramped alcove, they gave us the Great American Songbook, a birthday gift to everyone present, everyone upstairs and down.  It was hot that night but we didn't care. 

Helter skelter, in a summer swelter
I've had great Happy Hours here and even better late nights when
a collective we closed it down, but the best night by far was that night the music filled the space and filled my heart. 
I placed my camera against the dirty glass and took a photo.
And as the flames climbed high into the night 
Don McLean brilliantly weaves the words which tell of my generation's loss, in its many forms.
So bye-bye Miss American Pie
For me, the fire at this bar, after that birthday, seems another day the music died. 

American Pie, Don McLean
Zanata, 15th Street, Plano

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