Sunday, February 9, 2014

SpinTunes 8 Round 1 (and Cleveland)

Spintunes has begun again and the opening round has taken a hammer to me.

The challenge was issued on the very same day of my nephew's funeral. (Bradley was also my next-door neighbor. Sorry, I won't talk at length here, it's family. You can click on Bradley's photo for an obituary).

So I come home from that to read the challenge:
"Missing You - Write a song to someone you miss, but can't be with anymore. (2 minute minimum) (your submission is due Sunday, February 9th 11:59PM)"
Yeah. THAT's nice. Well, I didn't want to do the obvious subject, not because it was obvious, but because it was too soon. So William and I discussed some other topics, including one that was fairly up-beat and I was really jazzed on doing.

The theme would be "best friends". Each verse would be a different best friend, and each verse would end with a move, or a change of school or job, that sort of thing. The chorus would then come after each verse, and would assure the listener that the world keeps turning, Life goes on, and there's always someone new around the corner.

The lyrics I got from William weren't anything like that. In fact, they went pretty much where I didn't want to go. But they're what I had, so I finished the song and submitted it.

When it rains it pours

Now, just prior to finalizing and submitting a song, I like to get feedback. But most of my "musical" friends are actually competing this time around, so I thought I'd go ahead and call someone I haven't spoken with in a while, Deston Lee. Deston and I did amateur theater when I was in the USAF, stationed at RAF Croughton. She was my co-star in "On Monday Next", "Guys and Dolls", "Arsenic and Old Lace", and "Frankenstein". She also started a group of Choraliers, and was one of the very best operatic sopranos I'd ever heard. When she produced a local interest pageant for her adopted town of Rockford, IL, I provided the sheet music arrangements for her musicians.This is exactly who I needed.

So it's Friday. I've got a "release candidate" final mix, and I was reaching for the phone... and I mean this completely literally, I'm actually physically reaching for the phone to call Deston, and it rings, and it's her number on the caller ID.

Magic.

I answer, and it's her husband Bill, calling to tell me that Desi had died in his arms.

Wow.

I would eulogize Deston here and now, were it not for the fact that Bill did such an incredible job of it himself (click the pic). I'm not sure I could have done it, but I do know that he would never have allowed anyone else to do it. He would feel that no one else could do her justice.

And he would be right.  Every word that he writes here is true. And then some.

After hanging up the phone, I cried. You have to understand, I don't mourn. I didn't mourn my own mother (who was my very best friend) and I never cry for myself or my loss. We all die. If we live well and face the end with dignity there's nothing to mourn. I didn't cry for Desi, and I didn't cry for me. It was for Bill. In all my years on Earth, I have never once ever met anyone who loved another person more than Bill Lee loved Deston. And I felt the pain in his voice when he quietly said, "I always thought there would be more... time."

And as to how he got through writing that obituary, I'm certain that he kept in mind the thing I'm sure she would have told him:

"The show must go on."

I couldn't attend Deston's funeral in Illinois yesterday, but I signed the digital guestbook and bought flowers, then submitted our song, in that order.

Then I really wanted to do something that would be a little more upbeat. So I dug out a draft of one of our other songs... FYI, we've met this challenge a dozen times over the years. The challenge here is to do it in a new way. So I drug out "Drying Ink", aka "Cleveland", and decided to give it another go.  My earlier attempt had some serious timing issues, so I thought I could do it better.

Previously I've said I have no explanation for this song. But that's not entirely true. I have an explanation. I'm just not going to share it with you. Just know that Cleveland and Otis were and are real people. And yes, it's another song about a fallen friend. Cleve is gone from us, Otis isn't, and the cause is in the song, you just have to look for it. This is an attempt to take a sad subject and treat it in a way that isn't sad at all. It's a tribute, not a dirge.

It's also not our entry, nor is it really a "shadow", as it was written months ago. But it meets the challenge entirely.



Cleveland
wmh 2.14.13

I lived in Cleveland
Cleveland lived in me
The doubts I felt at first
Turned to trust and honesty

You lived your life on the line
Which few would ever do
And things you could never see
Meant the whole wide world to you

Held In Vigil
Blank paper and drying ink
No one could foresee
Your painful exit from this world
By the powers meant to be
Tomorrow won't see me
I'm gonna be leaving
And I Desire Simple 
things...

Cleveland, tell me
Have you seen my wife?
She's my million-dollar gal
And I trust you with her life

Cleve, please rest in peace
You are still a guiding light
A brew or two at noon
A shot of whiskey every night

Held In Vigil
Blank paper and drying ink
No one could foresee
Your painful exit from this world
By the powers meant to be
Tomorrow won't see me
I'm gonna be leaving
And I Desire Simple 
things...

[intrumental]

Held In Vigil
Blank paper and drying ink
No one could foresee
Your painful exit from this world
By the powers meant to be
Tomorrow won't see me
I'm gonna be leaving
And Desire Simple 
And Desire Simple 
And 

Desire 
Simple things...

I lived in Cleveland...
I lived in Cleveland...
(this one's for you, Otis)
I lived in Cleveland

3 comments:

BoffoYuxDudes said...

Dave - So sorry for your loss. Music can be therapy. It helps us remember time we want to relive. Memories of a time, a place, friends.

Here's hoping we all end up together again someday.

Dave Leigh said...

Thanks, Tom.

Spin said...

Really sorry for your losses. Hard to imagine getting hit with back to back things like that. Best wishes to all the family & friends of both parties.

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