Complete text -- "The Slumber Party"

15 August

The Slumber Party

Billy Bucher, Sunnyvale, TX, August 2004

I recently had the great pleasure of performing with two of my favorite musicians, Shake Russell
and Dana Cooper at Gruene Hall in infamous Gruene, TX.

The event was to celebrate the release of the John Vandiver CD "I Found a Dream" for the first time in the Austin area. See "Finally Realized Dreams." The next stop will be in Austin on September 2nd at the Cactus Club and then Dallas later this fall.

It's even hotter here in Sunnyvale today than at Gruene Hall. But only a bit hotter. Still, Betty's garden out in front of the house is filled with butterflies and there is a swarm of swallowtails swirling over the pink zinnias.

The whole Vandiver project has been a real experience and has given me, oddly, new directions as well. It was certainly great to be playing again in addition to my teaching.

My wife, Betty, for a number of reasons, had to stay in Sunnyvale that weekend. So, in my absence, she decided to put together a slumber party with her grandson Evan, our dog, Chancey, and the three cats. I'm not certain if she or I had the most fun.

Betty said that at the slumber party she finally had to put Evan in the guest bedroom in order to get him to settle down and go to sleep. But Evan was NOT at all happy with that arrangement and wanted none of it.

He kept yelling out, "Mimi, I'm scared."

Finally Betty gave in (I doubt without much protest but don't tell her that I suspect anything) and went to the guest room to get him.

"It's scary in here," Betty said Evan told her.

As she was leading him back to our bedroom, Evan began swatting at the air behind him as if there was a bee following him and he was swatting it away.

"Get away, scary," he said. "Get away right now."

Meanwhile, I was sweating it out at Gruene Hall. As my friend, guitarist Jim Tiemann, put it last night, Gruene Hall is like a really neat, but gigantic chicken coop. There are windows surrounding the building which are all screened. The air circulates but it would have probably been better in October. Still, the hall was packed.

Everyone was certainly having a great time that night but there was one thing that still gives me chills. Shake was recalling a story about John Vandiver and a song he had later written in remembrance of that occasion, when suddenly a huge clap of lightning and then a fierce shudder of thunder shook Gruene Hall to its very core. This was followed by a roar of rainfall which was amplified a thousand times by the tin roof which covered the "oldest dance hall in Texas."

For some reason, I suddenly thought of John. And I guess Shake did as well because he smiled and stopped what he was saying, then added, "I think John just wants me to stop talking and play the song." After Shake and Dana had turned up their amps in an attempt to combat the river of rain swell, Shake began picking at his guitar.

And talking with Jojo Vandiver the following week, she asked if I didn't feel John presence that night? She told me that when she got home from the show that evening, she looked at the weather channel and about 8:45 there was this sudden eruption of a tiny thunderstorm that was just around Gruene and San Marcos on the weather radar. It was just there for a few seconds in radar time, and then it was gone. Kind of a blink or you'll miss it kind of deal. There was no other rain or storms going on anywhere else in the entire state of Texas that Jojo could see.

I guess I'm old enough now to not be afraid to admit that I feel that I have felt John and Michael being close by at times over the past years and I also feel my folks at other times, particularly around sunsets. I'm sure you have similar feelings. Or maybe I'm just crazy but I certainly felt as if John were hovering above the stage and having a good time throughout the whole night.

The only downside was after I'd returned to Dallas and got back the pictures which were taken at the event and I thought, 'hey, who's that old guy talking to Dana?' And suddenly, much to my chagrin, I realized that it was me! Crap. Now that is scary, Evan! To be sure.

"Get away, scary," Evan said as he walked back to our bedroom that night of the slumber party. "Get away right now."

"Get away, old age," I say to myself, today, as I head for the treadmill. "Get away right now."

Posted by billybucher at 18:24:27 - Category: General

Ms. Claudia wrote:

Wow, you did it again, Billy. You can take two seemingly unrelated actions and find the thread that loops them together in a circle. reminds me of the philosophy behind the Balinese Gamelan. The music and instruments reflect the life cycle of man and nature. Begins with the large gong by itself, then builds instruments one at a time, with the rhythm and pitch doubling each time, then drops off one by one, ending with the large gong once again. The Indonesian musicians revere their instruments as gods--when they're not being played, the musicians bathe them in perfumed oil and wrap them in silk batiks to be stored in the temple until it is time to play them again. You can do that with words, Billy. :)
09/14/04 18:00:02

billybucher wrote:

Whew!!! Claudia, that is absolutely one of the nicest and most interesting things anyone has ever said about my writing. It may take several months to come up with an appropriate answer.
And remember, when you have time, there are still a group of us standing out on the porch on Fry Street in Denton in a seriously locked time warp waiting for you and Connie to arrive in Denton. We will patiently wait for you, of course.
Billy Keith Bucher (<:# (the lefty)
09/15/04 01:26:13
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