This following story is one that I swiped. My friend Mike Mallory wrote and posted it to his Facebook page. I swiped it because it’s entertaining and insightful. It’s one in a continuing series that features the writer, Mike, his wife Laura, and the star of the show – their grandson, Joey.
The story appears here with a several necessary corrections and alterations, each one essential to insure that readers could understand Mikes sometimes, incomprehensible sentence structure. Revealing this is a long overdue, act of revenge. Bare with me and understand that way back in time – those 45 years referred to in the title – back when I was singing those same protest songs with Mike, seeing something I’d written, he told me my spelling was terrible… inexcusably so. He was right but I never forgave him. And now, having said this – having exacted my revenge, I can’t say that I feel any better. But maybe I just need to give it a few more minutes.
Mike’s original title included the words: “VIEW FROM THE HOT TUB…” I shortened it – see above – to further irritate my friend and because almost all Mike’s story’s begin with, or end in the hot tub. And it was just too long. Why wear your readers out before they get to the first paragraph? Aside from all this, it’s good story. So I’ll let Mike take it from here.
VIEW FROM THE HOT TUB AND MY FIRST PROTEST IN 45 YEARS
Laura’s been sick, she has a cold. Joey decided to spend this weekend with us. Joey is our grandson. He’s eleven years old. Feeling less than well, Laura has not been able to cater to his every whim. Joey handled this hideous turn of events, like a trooper. He let Laura sleep and began work on a dinosaur painting that will cover one of our walls. Yesterday, he finished the head. So far, it looks awesome.
While Laura was recovering and Michelangelo was planning our new wall mural, I left the house, headed for the store. In my mind this meant I was leaving for work. I say this specifically because I’ve been accused of running a clubhouse that is not really work. Accusers are referring to the fact that I’m a working musician who also owns a family music store – a 1950’s type music store. If it is related to music, we have it.
I was asked to play “This land Is Your land’ at a rally. The rally was regarding the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. I have reservations about President Trump’s ability to come up with a plan to fix the ACA. I admit,the system has problems. I also don’t want the most vulnerable among us, to suffer. I am quite sure that nobody wants that. Anyway, on to the hot tub.
Joey, loves the hot tub. Laura has taught him how to operate and care for this fancy, schmancy, piece of luxury. So Joey has complete access to the tub.
Last night, about 10:00 pm , Joey came bounding to the living room. “COME, NOW!” He exclaimed. I did as I was told. He had the hot tub set up for the two of us and instructed me to go put on my swimming suit because, “nobody is freewheeling in here, that would be creepy!”
Joey insists that hot tub time is quiet time. “Quiet time” is like the old commercial that says something like,”When Joey speaks, people listen.” I forget the details of the ad, but it ran for years on television.
I told Joey that I had “played” my first protest in 45 years, earlier in the day. I was asked to sing one of my favorite songs, “This land Is Your Land.” Man, I’ll show up and sing that song for anybody! But I told him there was something about the deal that bothered me. When I arrived, I found out that someone had written new lyrics to suite the occasion. For some reason, good reason, I think – this gave me pause.
Joey, did not shush me, like usual. He was quiet and had his head tilted back looking at the sky. I assumed he was not listening at all. Then, lowering his head, he caught my eye and said, “I am going to miss winter in the hot tub. The cold, clear dark blue sky filled with stars and the bright moon reflecting on the snow, make night bright as day.”
Yes, I felt petty. Certain now that he had not heard a word I’d said… I was thankful that my pettiness had been allowed to drift away into the abyss.
Au contraire! He had heard every word.
He heard me rave about how Woody Guthrie came to write “This Land Is Your Land.” He heard me say that I did not like it when ANYONE rewrote songs to support a specific agenda – I’ve been critical of those on the right for doing the same thing. And he heard me say it was lame for anybody to change lyrics that do not need to be changed.
Turning his head back toward me, he said… ” The reason it bothers you is because, no matter what you think of the President, it is his land too.”
Joey looked back up into space and the world was quiet.