Louisiana And The Requiem

It is 10:30 on a soft April evening in panhandle Florida.

Buck and I mailed our tax return and check today. I bitch and moan about it, but the truth is, I am so grateful for the blessings of this life and the briar patch into which I undeservingly fell, that I smile all the while I am filling out the certified return receipt requested form at the post office.

After a sunset swim, we debriefed over cocktail hour, talking about Buck's newest book concept and our trip to Biloxi next week. Neither of us are into gambling, but we decided to stray off the reservation for a couple of nights to the Beau Rivage casino/hotel complex on Mississippi's Gulf coast. I've reserved an oceanfront room with a king-sized bed. Who knows? I might even succumb to the never before experienced putative pleasures of a dead sea salts facial or a hot stone massage. Don't get your hopes up. Even if I did, my protestant genes would insist that I keep it a secret!

Supper was a silky bean soup, accompanied by a dense pone of stoneground corn. God, it was good.

So good, that when Buck drifted toward the bedroom to read, I detoured off toward the piano. A friend will be singing the Brahms Requiem this November with the local choral society. I want to learn it, and so began this evening with a piano score and voice in English for soprano, alto, tenor and bass.

Tonight was Lesson I, straight up classical beauty, poco andante, e con espressione.

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall have comfort.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Who goeth forth and weepeth, and beareth precious seed, shall doubtless return with rejoicing, and bring his sheaves with him.

Thinking of the Gulf coast, hurricanes past, present and future, I put down Brahms, and picked up Randy Newman.

Lesson I, part (b), Louisiana, 1927, all bluesey and filled with a charasmatic tent revival feeling, especially in the bass note octaves ad libbing all over the place:

What has happened down here is the wind have changed

Clouds roll in from the north and it start to rain

Rained real hard and it rained for a real long time;

Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline.

River rose all day, the river rose all night.

Some people got lost in the flood,

some people got away all right.

River has busted through clear down to Plaquemine,

Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline.

Louisiana,

Louisiana,

They're tryin' to wash us away,

they're tryin' to wash us away.

Louisiana,

Louisiana,

They're tryin' to wash us away,

they're tryin' to wash us away.

President Coolidge come down in a railraod train

with a little fat man with a note pad in his hand.

President Coolide say "Little fat man, isn't it a shame

what the river has done to this poor cracker's land?"

Louisiana,

Louisiana,

They're tryin' to wash us away,

they're tryin' to wash us away.

Louisiana,

Louisiana,

They're tryin' to wash us away,

they're tryin' to wash us away.

I don't know what it is about pounding on that great black beast of a piano, only that it stretches me out, helps me to cry, helps me to laugh, helps me to lay the demons down and sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

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