Friday, November 9, 2012

Two Existential Questions

Dear John,
I went to the doctor today - I have a sinus infection and am on antibiotics. The headache, nausea, and dizziness have been better today. Thank you for your prayers.
On the way to and from South Bend I was listening to Eric Clapton's Unplugged  CD for the first time in ages. I can't imagine how anybody thinks of him as a rocker when he's so clearly a bluesman. On that CD he covers Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, and Muddy Waters. There's a lovely version of Walking Blues where he uses Robert Johnson's words (which come from one line in an earlier song that was probably written by either Son House or Blind Willie McTell) with guitar that's pure Muddy Waters from another song, slide and all. So I'm sure I'm not the first to ask: Howcome the greatest bluesman of our time is this white kid from England?
And I've been pondering something else for the last few days. I wonder what Mama would say about me listening to the music of her childhood. There are a couple of songs on my Bessie Smith set that I remember her singing to me when I was little - I mean Mama, not Bessie Smith. And I've told you about her loving the chorus of Caldonia. She and Daddy listened to big band music and the Boston Pops when I was a child. But it wasn't possible to live in the South and not hear the Blues. The music I love is the music she grew up listening to. It feels strange to think about it that way, but I would bet she's proud of me for it.
Well, those are my big existential questions for today. It's the best I can do with a sinus infection and my brain stopped up. Those are the things I'd be waiting to talk to you about when you got home from work tonight. I miss sitting down with you before bedtime, with you at your end of the couch, me at mine, and the dog sprawled out in the middle, and telling each other about our days. But it is so good to come here and do it. You haven't answered any of my letters yet - please feel free to! But, as I've said, after so many years I know what you'd say, so I hear your voice anyway. And I know you hear me, so all is well.
I only got 2 1/2 hour sleep last night, so I'm off to bed. Jethro is already asleep, having been tired out by a thunderstorm earlier this evening. We can sleep in tomorrow, and probably will. I love you so much! Please keep praying for my head. Sleep well.

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