2018-04-13 / Commentary

Keeping it simple

It’s not a criticism; It’s an observation

I was sitting on the deck with most of the dogs. We were all meditating lazily in the high 70s springtime sunshine. The dogs seemed content to leave it at that. I needed a little more stimulation. Drinking a glass of wine and listening to John Prine.

The wine was an extremely cheap Old Vine Zinfadel produced by Gnarly Head. The John Prine was a collection of his best; although, if you are listening to Prine, it doesn’t really matter. Everything he does is special— humorous and biting and smart and brilliant.

Suzy was inside watching Ellen; she doesn’t care much for sitting outside for long periods of time and can’t stand red wine. Sometimes, I’ll offer her a sip and swear she’ll like it just to see the face she makes when she sniffs the glass. It’s the classic “Bitter Beer Face” from Keystone Light commercials in the 90s. I’m sure that is offensive to someone, somewhere.

The Reed Brothers, who played in the only band I ever fronted, were once wine aficionados. I don’t think they were snobs, an entirely different animal. Both were well versed in the various categories and would invite me along anytime all three of us happened to be in Tuscaloosa simultaneously.

I was much younger then and not interested in learning about wine, especially the kind Rick and Randy consumed. One bottle was more than my monthly alcohol budget. But recently I began to experience digestive trouble with beer and got interested in wine, although much less expensive wine.

Two Columbia guys I briefly jammed with introduced me to the ten dollar rule, and I was soon acquainted with reds I liked a lot but weren’t capable of reducing my measly government stipend to rubble.

I’m not sure where I first heard John Prine but the Reed Brothers might well have been involved. Prine has sashayed in and out of my musical life several times. Disappearing when something new and shiny comes along and then magically reappearing when I least expect him and most need solid substance.

A Garden and Gun article by the incomparable Julia Reed reminded me of Prine’s genius, and that I not only had several of his selections available but could actually play a few and sing along.

I’ve noticed many people my age are spending their golden years screaming at the television, their relatives, and anyone else who doesn’t realize their version of the political world is the only way. The sad part is politicians are manipulating the rest of us, so they can stay in power and no amount of yelling will change that.

Most of the folks living their final days upset about things they can’t control and don’t matter anyway, don’t realize how little time we have left and how much joy can be garnered from simple things.

I read recently that 18 of the top 25 TV shows are political argument programs. Manufactured outrage by well-paid bloviators without allegiance or conscience. And so many fall for it time and time again.

Life is too short. Smart choices make a difference. Try something that makes you smile.

Try “Glory of True Love.”

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