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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Missing Big Daddy

It's pre-autumn in South Carolina. At 4am on my back porch, it's 52 degrees and a breeze makes it feel even a little more chilly. Ten hours ago, I put the kid in our high-tech stroller (outfitted with an iPod hookup and pumpable tires) and took a walk up to the neighborhood park. On the walk home, I turned on Acoustic Syndicate and soaked in the blue sky that revealed itself yesterday.

My wife was beautiful today, sore from exercise, worn out from insomnia and a kid that almost lost part of a finger this week, and radiating a sweetness that only a husband can truly appreciate. As we navigated our way back to the homestead, I smiled at a family playing frisbee and sung along with Steve "Big Daddy" McMurry as he sang "Punkin' and Daisy." My wife endured it and smiled when I got silly about the blueness of the sky, my adoration for the kid in the stroller, the desire for a wife on the walk, and patience with the dog that was not nearly as dainty as she needed to be in front of the neighbors.

As we walked, we mused about a life that was 75 degrees every day.

"I really could do without winter," I said.

"I thought you said you wouldn't live anywhere that didn't have four seasons," the wife poked.

She was right. I'd said it before and I meant it. I can't appreciate days like today unless I live through the winters and suffer through the summers. It's the days in April, September, and October that make me believe in something that matters. It may not be the God that everyone else knows, but it's something that makes me want to live and not be afraid of dying.

I can't control the blueness of the sky. I can't control the speed of the breeze. I can't control myself. What I do, what I believe, what I appreciate are all things I don't even recognize until they are so deep-set that they are part of me.

I remember sitting at the Handlebar (the best local joint for live music) a few years ago and feeling tears come to my eyes as I listened to Julie Murphy Wells sing "Oh, My Brother." She fronts--if anyone really fronts--Eddie from Ohio. This is a band that most people just don't get until they see them live. New folk is something that the big city folks just don't understand. It's like indie music for the Appalachian set. It's harmony and soul and pure marrow. It just doesn't play in the city. It's something that you just wouldn't get if you live in L.A. or NYC. Regardless, Julie made me cry that night. I was sober and clear-headed. That night, there was something about Julie's voice that made me realize why some people cry when they see a perfect piece of art.

There are so few perfect things within reach of my understanding. I write a lot and a I read a lot. It's rare that something hits me in a place that makes me react involuntarily. Julie was not the first, but she's the one that defines it. She's the type of woman I'd never try to pick up in a club, but would've married in a second if I had been a single man, and she a single woman. Julie makes me cry.

And, so, Big Daddy. The man has a distictive voice that just doesn't translate to popular music. Big Daddy is the only guy who can scream into a microphone and make me love him. As this night turned into early morning, I spent an hour talking to a guy who had spent a year of his life in Iraq, driving over dead bodies and trying to come to grips with the reality of being a guy who believed in his country, but couldn't quite accept the cause his country supplied for war. A blog post that began as an homage to the seasons and their musical equivalent has become, again, something I can't quite define.

A little more than a year ago (and maybe more) Acoustic Syndicate broke up and left me without a "local" band to really appreicate. Tonight, I spent an hour trying to track down the voice that makes me happy. I miss his voice. I miss a male voice that touches me a place that no one else can touch.

Big Daddy is somewhere else now and I miss him. I'm now in search of something else. I'm as happy as I have ever been, but I want to find something that hits me in that place I can't define. It's not a desperate or sad search, but it's something that I really need.



Anonymous Absinthe said...



3:45 PM  
Anonymous Su said...

I knew there was a reason I look at this site everyday. You are a beautiful writer, Brad.

6:36 PM  
Blogger G-Rob said...

I miss a male voice that touches me a place that no one else can touch.


Become a Catholic.

Then try confession.

10:04 PM  

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