Pierrot Lunaire called me about a free medievial/Renaissance/Baroque concert at Peabody, and that there's some of my favorite shit. The band was a half 'n half faculty and students, and they were sublime. About 12 vocalists, including a fantastic Asian male falsetto specialist whose voice made the hair on my arms stand up. Several lutists and flutists and a dude whaling on the precursor to the oboe made my night. The entire performance was on period instruments or period replicas, and nothing beats that intimate warm sound.
Unfortunately I had to ditch the second half (Messe de Minuit) because I was catching a ride with Kw'ali and Klezma to Flexible Head's going away party. They were kind enough to drive me to Fell's Point where we had a good meal and several Guinuesses. I didn't really get to chat much with anyone because Pierrot showed after set two and we talked classical music for two hours. Flexible Head and his buddy bought a building in Geneva NY and are opening a restaurant/bar. There goes my favorite Libertarian punk rocker.
Got up early to visit Gramps. He's 85 and has started to do what 85-year-old guys often do, namely fall down and hurt himself. He banged up his shoulder leaving Bible study by falling in the driveway. In a way it's a good thing because now he can't drive and that's the only way to keep him off the road, but I worry because the pain has his spirits low; this is a guy who almost always has a twinkle in his eye and a joke to tell. When I got to the house he was asleep in his recliner. "I lived longer'n anyone in the family," he told me. "'Cept for Uncle George who made it to 92."
"You'll be there before you know it," I replied, and he said "Not with this kind of pain. I don't need to be settin' any records feeling this way. I'm none too happy."
His second wife, Hazel, is 92, and she's barely coherent. They need someone to check on them every day now, but try getting them into a home or to move in with one of us. Even their cat, beaten badly in a fight by another to the point it has neurological damage, is a mess. It walks awkwardly, falls over, has seizures, and then comes to and runs around like crazy. I checked their supplies and realized they had no food in the house, so ran over to Gettysburg and bought a bunch of stuff, including hot lunches of chicken and beans and mac and cheese which were greeted with wonderment. They really think supermarket buffet fare is "fancy."
I called my Mom and told her we needed to install handicapped handles and bars in the bathroom and bedroom if they're going to stay at the house. Gramps told me "the FBI" had been out twice that week, once because he couldn't get off the "commode," the other time because he fell getting out of bed. Hazel said "it's not the FBI, it's the watchamacallit with the three numbers."
He was sad because Cha couldn't make it. "I look at her picture every day," he told me. "She is nice to look at," I answered, to which his reply was "You're not-a kiddin'!" Cha loves Gramps because she never knew hers. I was very fortunate to know all my grandparents, and even a great-grandmother, into my late teens. Here I am creeping up on 40 and I still have one left. Unfortunately he lives 2 hours away. But I got to eat lunch with the old guy, and listen to him say Grace with that sweet earnestness I remember from childhood: "Lord, thank you for the beautiful day and for this food. Bless the hands that have prepared it."