May 1, 2013
"If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn"
--Charlie "Yardbird" Parker, Sep 9 1949
That was one of the first quotes I ever "collected"-- it was my .signature file for a while.
Last year, before I turned 38, it occurred to me I might be about as old as my dad was when he died. I wasn't positive of his birthdate, but I thought I knew the year, so I googled my site for 1949... this quote came up before my dad's birthday (which I thought, correctly, was there from a tribute I wrote when I was 29, and had lived as long without him as with.)
Somehow I had recorded the quote with a date, and never realized that the day Charlie Parker said that was also my dad's birthday. And according to my date toy, today is the day I was wondering about last year: I am as old as he was as he died.
I guess the guy lived it so it woulda came outta his horn, except that he couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. Played a mean timbrel (Salvation Army term for a tambourine) though, and wanted to start the James Edward Israel School for the Triangle.
All of the above I wrote last year.
I didn't really come up with a great way to commemorate the occasion, so I ordered a box of Payday bars (his personal favorite) and am passing them out at work and whatnot.
Now that the day is here, what does it mean? I think there's a time in late teenagehood, young-adulthood when a young man kind of takes on his father to help become his own man, and I'll never have a proper version of that. A milestone like this, where in every memory I have of my dad going forward he'll have been younger than I am at that moment, might help me grow up a bit. Maybe.
Still bummed he didn't get to see me grow up, still bummed he didn't get to see the world evolve a bit into something more connected and communication-oriented, still bummed for me and all the other people who loved him and have been deprived the pleasure of his humor and company.
"History teaches us nothing except that something will happen."