Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The real start of autumn

For years now, autumn for me begins when the weather finally drives me into a jacket and sneakers again. That was today.

This morning I woke up and decided to take back the movies I rented last night, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Supersize Me!. They weren't due till tomorrow, but I figured, well, I watched them; get the chore over with. (Highly recommend both movies, by the way.) When I let the dog out on the balcony to do his biz, I could already tell it was that cold. So when I walked up the road to drop the movies off, I wasn't in short sleeves and sandals, nope. This time it was a jacket and sneakers. This is the practical end of the summer, I guess. Oh, there might be a few more warm days left, but it's definitely the slide into winter.

On Sunday, when I was driving around with P-Doug, I was playing the CD he gave me of some of Leopold Stokowski's adaptation of other composers' works. The first piece is Sheep May Safely Graze, by JS Bach. At some point in the past year, that melody became imprinted on my mind in conjunction with a silly little story I wrote for Jody September last year about how a kind-hearted cow turned a community of mean fleas around. Since Jody's death, it's really become full of meaning for me. Around a week after he died, I was driving out to meet an old flame to talk about it all, and just before I arrived, the classical station played the song (this time performed by Yo Yo Ma), and I could barely drive.

[N.B.: if you don't know who Leopold Stokowski is, he's the conductor in the Disney musical Fantasia, as well as the figure being lampooned by Bugs Bunny at the end of What's Opera, Doc?.]

The funny thing is, the first time I ever heard the melody was an electronic version that some guy used to back a song slagging, of all things, Gary Coleman of Diff'rent Strokes fame. It was on Doctor Demento, and one of the songs I've saved on tape over the years. Back when I was in high school, I listened to it alot, though I hated the frog-mouthed singer and his inane lyrics. The melody was just that good. Well, sometime last year I finally heard the melody alone and learned the name. I'm only just reaching the point where I can hear the song without my brain digging up the idiotic lyrics to it.

On Monday, I was thinking about all that. First time I heard that song was probably in 1986 or 1987. I was in high school, and Jody was still just a little kid then. We didn't even exist for one another yet; we were still nearly a decade from meeting up online.All the while this song was in the background, just percolating, waiting to be shaped into something fuller by afunny little story I wrote just to amuse a friend during an idle moment, and the tragedy that befell him less than a year later. The fact that it'sentirely a function of my own mind and feelings doesn't change mywonder at strange it all is.

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