Purple Rain

I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain

I don’t remember much about Memphis.

I was ten. I’d just been uprooted from my childhood home. My semi-charmed life of latchkey afternoons and ice cream weekends with my grandmother were about to become memories fading fast like stationary images in a rear-view mirror.

In March my mother had remarried a military man. And in April we crammed our few possessions into the back of an old Datsun 280-z. I was in the backseat wedged between stuffed animals, Encyclopedia Brown books, and all of my cassettes and albums that I couldn’t bear to give away.

I said a tearful goodbye to Jacksonville, Florida and then took a vow of silence for the rest of the trip. I sat like a sardine squashed in that back seat for over thirteen hours. I refused to eat or drink or talk. I shot daggers into the back of my mother’s head; I wouldn’t even look at him.

I listened to old tapes in my Sony Walkman cassette player. But I couldn’t tell you who. I just listened. And I stared. At her. Out the window. At cars going by. At the constant rain. At the musical boxes of therapy wedged under my legs.

We pulled into Memphis in the dead of night. At two a.m. it looked just like any other city. Any other night. Any other motel parking lot with a purple neon flashing vacancy sign. Another suitcase in another hall.

“Come on, Christy,” Mom said.

“No, I’ll sleep in the car,” I said.

“No you will not. GET. OUT. NOW,” she growled.

I knew better than to push my mother when she spoke in short clipped words. I knew what was next. She used to do this ear pull and pinch thing that can still make me wince.

“Fine. I have to pee anyway,” I said.

I contorted my body like a pretzel and extracted myself from the backseat.

I shuffled around the wet parking lot while he got us a room. I brooded and sulked as only a ten-year old girl used to always getting her own way can, occasionally looking at my mom to see if she was watching me. She wasn’t. I glared at the asphalt and saw something shiny on the ground several yards away. It was in stark contrast to the slick black asphalt, a white rectangle on the ground between two parked cars.

“Come on, Christy.”

But I ignored her and walked closer to the pavement mystery.

I reached down and picked it up. It was a white cassette tape. It’s white plastic siding was scratched, and the black text was rubbed off in spots, but it looked to be mostly intact.

I brought it closer, curious as a cat, and read the wording on the tape. Somewhere mournful birds cried in the distance. My stomach trembled inside.

“Christy…,” Mom called.

“Coming!” I said. And smiled. It was my first real smile in weeks.

“What’d you find?”

“Oh nothing. Just a tape,” I said, refusing to share my excitement.

“Well come on. It’s starting to rain again. Let’s go in,” Mom said.

“I know. But I like the rain. It feels good. Refreshing. It feels like starting over.”

“Come here,” she said, with her arms open wide. “Come give me a hug.”

“Mom…..,” but I walked into her embrace and let her arms enfold me.

Honey I know, I know, I know times are changing. It’ll be okay, Christy. I still love you. He loves you too, you know. You’re still my little girl. You’ll always be my little girl. It’s all going to be okay…”

And I began to cry.

It rained harder.

The raindrops glistened like violets through the neon lights of the motel sign behind us.

“Shhhhhhh… Don’t cry.” She ran her hands through my hair, and wiped away my tears with her fingers. Then she moved her hands down my torso, gently tickling my sides.

“Mom! Stop! That tickles!” I said, giggling, despite my sorrow and pain.

But she didn’t stop. She kept tickling me. And tickling me. Delighting in a sound she hadn’t heard from me in a very long time.

And I laughed.

And laughed.

And laughed.

And laughed.

In the purple rain.

Purple rain, purple rain.

Laughing

in the purple rain.

 

“We love you very very much. Good night.”  ~ Prince, timestamp 13:26

(This video gets removed frequently, but I’ll try to keep updating. Just in case, a moving rendition by Etta James is included below.)

 

Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)

But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The after world
A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

 

 

When sports becomes something else

The greatest thing about sports is that, just when you think you’ve seen everything it can offer up, it shows you something else.

It’s in the moments that were never supposed to happen- like a bunch of kids from the Midwest taking out the Russians in Lake Placid. Buster Douglas tugging at Superman’s cape in a heavyweight rumble with Tyson, and then knocking his ass into yesterday’s news. It’s the Red Sox doing their best Uma Thurman impression by punching their way out of that wooden box against the Yankees and then putting eighty seven years worth of Babe Ruth sightings to bed forever more. It’s the New York Giants, showing the Patriots that coronations can get complicated once you punch the undefeated champion in the mouth.

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Sunday Afternoon Coffee Love

To momentous days and long stories. To sunshine sparkling on our shoulders and to shining like diamonds; like Lana, not vampires.

To lucky days and winning streaks after lifetimes of breaking even or coming up short. To chances always in our favor.

To waking early … to sleepy good mornings and to crushed velvet in our ears. To the promise of sunrise, steadfast and assured … always there. To my happiness and your kindness, and vice versa and both … always there.

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who make the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and crotchety–

best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light–
good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

~ “Why I Wake Early” by Mary Oliver,

To going back to bed … to fluffy pillows and languid stretches, to reading yourself asleep and dreaming yourself awake, to wishes granted and dreams that keep coming true.

To warm suns and to north stars, to the waxing moons of our lives, to rising royally from ashes.

To singing on Fridays, to long walks on Saturdays, to sleeping late on Sundays. To the long hauls in between, made all the more sweeter by star-gazing lilies–finally in bloom–and by soft pink honeysuckle and photo-bombing puppies.

 

To Sunday afternoon coffee–sweetened with honey and plum and vanilla–and sweet words, and sweet music, and sweet pancakes.

To a new born song on an old guitar, to knowing–finally knowing–what it means to be alive.

To a love so large “that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it,” and to that long haul ahead, together.

To a miracle constructed over time, and to the lifetime of unseen practice leading up to it.

And to April … come she will … come what may.

 

***

And I never hit the Spring so hard
A new born song on an old guitar
And I know what it means to be alive
She drives me crazy in all kinds of ways
Love kicked my head and took down my name
What happened

Here she comes
There we go …

I’m happy.

The Great Debate: MLB vs NBA

MLB vs NBAAfter Christy went all scorched earth on me in that futbol vs football debate post, I decided to come back for more with Mama Mick. Because I’m a glutton for punishment, when meted out by lovely opponents.

Mama is under the impression the MLB is the bomb diggity of American sports not named the NFL. It’s a quaint notion for sure, not to mention entirely wrong.

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Sunday Morning Coffee Love

To figuring out the math with odds that go even. To slow dancing on the lull of a voice that soothes like honey. To plans, and places and the one true thing that brings it all together. To games and thrones and diving in to the beginning, with her delicious promise of “you just wait” inspiring the strokes. To believing. Again. For the first time.

To never saying never. Ever.

To knowing.

Finally.

Knowing.

 

The Irish Post VI

Shamrock HeartI’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way this Irish post became an annual rite of spring here at Drinks.

Some years have proven better than others since my first jig, but I’m here to report that this St Patty’s Day finds your intrepid reporter in a very good place. The environs of which Joyce once streamed on madly and Wilde satirized out of a hopeless ache. The thing Yeats built churches on with romantically placed nouns and passionately charged verbs.

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Birds, snakes, an aeroplane and Lenny Bruce is shitting his pants

I don’t trust happy endings.

This isn’t meant to say I dabble in nihilism as a means of self medication, though. As far as I’m concerned, nihilists are just quitters dressed in black clothes. And the only time I go anarchist is when I’m on hold and some automated jerkoff is sweet talking me through options that don’t fit what I’m wanting to get fixed. 

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