It had been a long day to begin with…and now this. My mother had just interrupted my rendezvous with Bob Dylan’s album, “Blood on the Tracks” to tell me that we were going to see the Florida Orchestra that evening. Oh no, not this again. Last time we went to one of these things, none of my friends could go and I had been bored out of my mind. I remember drifting in and out of sleep as I laid on the grass. Every now and then the orchestra would hit a loud note and I’d awake only to find my dreams interrupted by the harsh reality that I was still at the concert. I lifted the needle on the record player and flipped to Side Two. It was going to be a long night.
We got ready that afternoon and loaded up the car with various items to make the night more enjoyable: folding chairs, food, wine for the parents. I remember thinking it would have been nice if I, too, could drink my way through this thing. On the other hand, my sister was fat and happy with a couple of her friends along for the ride. They were the two most annoying friends she had, of course. I’m not sure, but if the word “hell” could be used as an adjective, I’d employ it to describe the ride there. We arrived at Coachman Park and staked our claim with the blankets, chairs and, fortunately, some Subway sandwiches. I savored every bite thinking – knowing – that this evening would be just as bad as the ride up.
The twilight grew like a weed, and I began to explore. If nothing else would come from the outing, at least I could feel like a kid again. So I climbed the rocks and trees and almost everything climbable in sight. It was almost dark before the orchestra began to play and even then I blocked it out as I climbed around the dried up waterfall near the benches up the hill. There was so much to see around here! I explored wearing size 7 shoes again and looked in every nook and cranny. The wonder of it all…I was a kid again! But this wasn’t the true delight of my evening. That would come later.
The delight came when my ears were opened for the first time. It came like an epiphany while I was sitting on the benches. I sat exposed in the light, staring out into the darkness of the evening when my mind first captured the beauty of classical music. I sat still, listening for the longest time. I soaked it up…absorbed it like a compressed sponge suddenly unconstrained and free to devour the pure artistry of the moment. At last I was free! My mind had been opened and I could, without restraint, comprehend the motivation of all the artists and poets in this world. It was a moment I’ll never forget as long as I live. And perhaps even in death.
It had been a defining moment in my life and as might be assumed, I enjoyed the rest of the show. Not knowing a thing about classical music (but for the bits I’d heard in cartoons), I sat in an ignorant bliss that night with a smile on my face. And I suppose if you asked a passerby, they would describe me as having been in a stupor. It wasn’t a drug-induced stupor, but I know that I was definitely on a high that night. After the show and the grand finale, I went back down to the family in a much better mood that I’d been in before. I was even able to block out the country music that we played on the way home. I remember the car ride home – it had been filled with memories of the music.
As will the rest of my life.

The Jack of Hearts

and the picture thing is crappy now…

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