a certain spark

Two people I've come across recently have struck me as similar. Not sure quite how, but maybe that sort of thing is best left to the reader anyway.

The first was this ninety-year-old man who tap-danced at his birthday party in a bar.

Ok, I probably need to back up. We have this mountain place in a town with this crazy bar. I won't say exactly where (this is the Internet, you know. Never know what sort of barmy sort are reading this. When I sell my first book the jig will be up as to the location of this place. Ok, I'm digressing again. Maybe I should sit on these for a day or so before I post them.)

Suffice it to say that this village is like a lot of other mountain towns. How to put it for those who've not been to Colorado? There's a certain freedom about these places. This place in particular has it, which is one of the reasons we love it so.

Anyway, back to the bar. About five people come in this bar everyday by 11 am and order their drinks (only they just have to sit down because the bartender obviously knows what they want since he has it on the bartop for them when they walk in the door) and they watch tv together and chat. It's a typical mountain bar with stuff like the requisite jackalope - extraodinarily dusty, a stuffed horse's ass mounted on the wall, and pictures of famous people who have been there. (I have to admit my skeptism about the authenticity of that bit of advertising because not many of them are signed and none of them are pictured in the bar - it only took me a year to realize this, but hey, I was drunk at the time.) On Friday and Saturday nights they have bands and it can be really hoppin'.

The point of all this blather? To create the necessary contrast. This bar shouldn't be a place where anything happens. But it does. We can go in there, order our $1.50 beers on tap (that's not happy hour, that's anytime prices) and sit back and watch what will happen. Because something will happen. It's like free, live entertainment from a low budget improv troupe.

This particular night it was the birthday party. First came in all the people dressed in plaid and stripes. White belts. Brown shoes with highwater black pants.

My friend and I exchanged glances and had the identical thought course through our tiny brains at the same time: "Well, it is the mountains."

Then came the reason for all the hoopla. In walks the oldest crone of a guy, though he was still tall and pretty bright-eyed. And he had on a tuxedo, obviously owned and obviously at least thirty years old. I was starting to catch on. This guy was tall. Even with a little bit of a stoop he was a giant; no wonder his friends were wearing high water pants in imitation of him. It would have been hard for him to find pants that fit right. So we watched this party go on for awhile, everyone having a great time, and the old guy was drinking everyone under the table, or at least doing an admirable job of keeping up.

Just about when it was going to be either time for us to leave or time to buy the guy a birthday shot, the band quit playing and after a few words and cheers, the birthday boy went to the middle of the dance floor and started to tap dance. It didn't take much encouragement.

He was good. Ok, slow. But good. He was ninety after all; and for no cover, buck-fifty beers, and a place that still allows smoking it was damn fine entertainment.

So we told him, "Happy Birthday!'

And he said, "What?" even though the band hadn't started back up yet.


"Oh. Thank you."

The part about the other person is shorter because I don't have to set the scene except to say that she had sparkle in her hair. Still does, in fact. I probably wouldn't have noticed except she's only about 2 1/2 feet tall and 2 1/2 years old, and that I'm the one who washes said hair.

"You have sparkle in your hair," I said.


"You have sparkle in your hair," I said again.

"Oh. Thank you."

I suppose to a two-year-old that is a compliment.

What do these two have in common? (guess I'm onto a theme here with these postings) I'm not sure, except that they do have something. I sense that to try to put a name on it might diminish it in some fashion. But it's good to know that it's around, even after all that shit that goes on; laundry and terrorist attacks and elections (don't get me started) and work and bad moods and whatever else annoys you. Tell your friends.

And tell your friends about my little baby blog. I'll try to post every day or so. Just be warned, much of this is fiction, sometimes forty/sixty, sometimes much more. Don't try to figure out which is which - it'll take the fun out of it. It won't always have a point either, that gets tiresome. Got to go work on the novel now. A and K are in a bad way.


Jerry said...

Good writing. I got to your blog because at the top of my blog I clicked the "Next Blog" button.

I enjoyed your story. You should drop the last paragraph, though. I already got the point without your explanation. It is more gratifying to figure out an author's point without them ruining it by spelling it out. (Yours didn't ruin your story, though.) Ever been to a movie where the director couldn't resist inserting narrative dialogue that told you exactly what he thought the point of his/her movie was? It bothers me.


sex scenes at starbucks said...

Yeah, you're probably right. I usually write shoot'em up science fiction so I don't always know how to treat this meaningful crap.