Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

I get to be as self-indulgent as I want without wasting anyone's time. Guilt-free solipsism -- excellent!

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Sunday, October 05, 2003
I just got back taking Dexter for a walk around Brentwood Park, behind our house. As we headed into the homestretch, I could hear music -- live music -- coming from one of the backyards facing the park.

It turned out to be emanating from an impromptu stage set up in someone's driveway. A fiddle player, pianist and drummer, each in their 60s or 70s, were nonchalantly bashing out an infectiously swinging version of Sweet Georgia Brown, replete with Le Jazz Hot soloing. A gaggle of guests, most of whom appeared of a similar age, sat watching in lawn chairs arranged across the concrete. A younger woman held a video camera, a little girl slinked around and through the legs of those standing around the periphery.

I told Dexter to sit (it worked!) and stood across the street, taking in the scene and enjoying the novelty. It didn't take long before some of the guests noticed our presence and began doffing their baseball caps and smiling at us. I smiled back and kept tapping my foot so that they could see I was genuinely enjoying the music, despite the impression an Afghan Whigs t-shirt might have conveyed to the contrary.

Before long an older lady walked across the street to me to fill me in. The musicians had a band together as youngsters, when they all attended a school for the blind. Over the years, their paths had diverged, but this weekend was their reunion -- they had not played together in 47 years. My jaw dropped. "47 years apart and they sound like that?", I said. She nodded, smiling -- "47 years, and they're blind." And they were playing in the driveway, their backdrop a garage door.

"The piano player is Bobby Doyle, I don't know if you've heard of him", she continued. I hadn't, but I just looked him up: he wrote songs for Fabian, was a member of Blood Sweat & Tears, and put out a solo album featuring the great Steve Cropper on guitar.

"He plays at Eddie V's downtown," she said. "Thanks for telling me the story, they sound great," I said. We waved goodbye and Dexter and I walked on.


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