The Grateful Dead and Other Gratitudes

This is me trying to put into words a flash from the past while I waited for Laural and Patty to catch up to me after Music in The Park at Bluebird. Along with a couple of friends from down the street, we’d picnicked and boogied and waved our arms and jumped up and down for two hours in front of Cubensis’s, Grateful Dead Music Tribute, see picture below. Tie-dye city. As Patty said, “Now, It’s officially summer.”

The gods must’ve known this, because our persistent “June gloom,” cleared up and the sun broke through in all its glory, not two hours before the session. Next Sunday it’s “Smooth Sounds of Santana.” Should be great. Same time, same place for a total of six weeks of music and fun. Speaking of place, this is what I was writing about, or trying to at least. A memory from my first days in the U.S.

It was the sight of the treetops across Bluebird Park swaying in the breeze. I’m not sure what kind of trees they were, probably maple or sycamore. But I was suddenly back on that Greyhound bus from New York City down to Charlotte, North Carolina, gazing out at the thick forest lining the road, filled with elm, maple, flowering dogwood, alder, cedar, cherry, crape myrtle, all beautiful and green and civilized with names I’d read about and seen pictures pinned on St. John’s Convent School’s bulletin boards by the American nuns, that I’d been longing to see in living color. I was filled with awe and appreciation.

And then I realized that’s what had happened when I saw those treetops now. Except at the same time, I felt a longing for the trees I’d grown up with in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, in which I’d built tree houses, tire and rope swings, played Tarzan, dangled from the limbs like a monkey, all the while keeping a constant lookout for snakes, especially the black mamba, the most deadly snake in the world.

Ah, a lovely flash from the past. I’ve had the best of both worlds.

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