Summer: Tribal Face Paint, June Jazz, and Movie Parties
The last week of June was sheer bliss. I’ve probably used that phrase before sometime during the course of these summer posts, and surely the word bliss. I know I might be exhausting the word by now, but as I seem bankrupt of a worthy synonym at present, and as I’m trying to go through these memories rather intuitively rather than turn the series into a cold intellectual encyclopedic exercise, I’ll go with it for now, knowing full well what unique meaning the word takes each time I apply it. Ah, words.
But back to the summer. I don’t remember much of playing that Sunday morning at church, probably due to the fact that I was super drowsy from moving furniture and staying up so late the day and night before. But I imagine it went well. I genuinely enjoyed my time of playing worship out at Hillside North. As I had come to the revelation that I would be taking leave of playing at Trinity, I had yet to decide about playing at Hillside. Was this something that I wanted to continue? I enjoyed the crew that I played with; they were all very kind and intelligent. I enjoyed the songs we played and I genuinely enjoyed the services. However, as it was summertime, I was frequently staying up late into the early mornings, certainly when I would go to shows or play shows. This resurgent habit of staying up late and sleeping late made it quite difficult for my internal clock to roust myself awake by 7:00 A.M. But I still felt a sense of loyalty to the team out at the north campus, and they weren’t asking me to play every single week. I figured that I could keep committing to Sundays for the foreseeable future.
June 27th was a significant day for me, mostly due to the wonderful spontaneity of summertime and late night hangouts. There was a show scheduled that night at 806. Mount Ivy was the opening band; the headliners were the oft lauded Little Tybee. Shortly after meeting Juan, I was informed of Tybee’s greatness; it was an ethereal kind of description, a transcendent musicianship and identity imparted to me more by Juan’s intuitive energy than the semantics. I was intrigued. If they were anything like Glyphs (kind of the next stage, according to Juan), then I knew they were truly great. They had been to town at least once per year since I had started hanging out with the music people, and I had yet to see them. This was my chance.
John and I were at 806 early on, I think. I seem to remember sitting outside on the porch reading a new blog post by my favorite thinker in the science/faith dialogue. Ivy showed up and started to load in. I’m sure that I conversed liberally with Broderick, Topher, Juan, and company. These were the glory days of thick communal love. I truly felt like an equal player in this scene, albeit less revered and acknowledged. But still, I was a part. People knew who I was and who my band was and what we were up to. And I had the greatest drummer in the land, who I was thankful to call my best friend.
I don’t remember much of Ivy’s set. I’m pretty sure that I was there in the crowd for it, probably seated at a table. It was warm and inviting, cerebral and spiritual all at once. After they finished, I wandered out to the patio area. Earlier in the evening, I had spied my friend Cacy, who I hadn’t spent any face to face time with since the fall of 2014. I wanted to connect with her in some way this night. She had always emanated a fascinating allure. I had kept up with her via social media, but we hadn’t really hung out since a house party we went to those two years before. This night, she was out on the patio surrounded by familiar faces. I felt safe enough to approach her, even in my candid awkwardness. Eventually, we got to talking, and as her face and the face of her then interested party (a friend of mine as well) were both adorned with some unspecified tribal-ish paint, I asked if she would do me the same honor. She did, and we proceeded to catch up. We even made plans to hang out soon as I offered to help her move.
My friend Ann showed up around this time, and we got to talking (I think maybe before the face-painting). I had met Ann the previous year, and we had taken an instant liking to one another. Our times of hanging out together were few and far between, but each time was pretty magical as friendships and dialogue go. I always felt enlightened and unencumbered after hanging out with her. She was spiritually attuned, complex, and ambitious, and thoughtful, all to high degrees. It was a joy just to be around her. We had been in correspondence the past few days and were planning to hang out the coming Wednesday. It was happenstance meeting on this Monday night, one that I was very thankful for.
I missed the whole of Tybee’s show. I heard the peripherals of the set, but I didn’t take it in properly. Juan would be upset. My face freshly painted, I interacted with more friends out on the patio, really soaking up the magnificence of the night. It was great to be around such wonderful people. I eventually made my way out to where Ann and her friends were. We caught up a little bit and I eventually made plans to go hang out with her and her friends at Fast Eddie’s. I bid farewell to everyone and soon rode with Ann over to Fast Eddie’s. I had frequented the place for a short time back when I worked at United, but had only been there on rare occasions since. This was my second time going this year. I had gone on May 12th with the group that comprised John’s bachelor party.
Ann and I sat in her car for a few minutes before going in; I imagine we were waiting on everyone else to show up. We had a really good talk about a serious issue going on in my life at the time. Ann’s support and wisdom were so amazing. Fast Eddie’s was pretty fun, a very relaxing time overall. Ann and company played pool. I hung out not far away at a table on my own, smoking a leftover Black & Mild I had from the 806. Ann would occasionally come over and talk to me, as well as the super-cool server we had. I was in a great state of thankful relaxation, sitting there in my own little puffs of cheap cigar smoke. It was a special hour.
I was invited to go to Waffle House with the gang afterwards, but I declined. I was ready to turn in. Ann took me back to my car and I headed home. We bid farewell until Wednesday night. Monday’s adventures were over.
Tuesday night brought the last June Jazz at Amarillo College. I had missed the previous 3 dates, but made a point to attend this one. I joined Angie and John near the pit by the music building and sat down on the warm summer grass to take in some jazzy eudemonia. Honestly, I don’t recall much of the band, though I’m certain that every one of them was a very talented musician. They served as background music to the array of soul light that I was to experience that night. Everyone in attendance (a very large gathering, in fact) seemed to be radiant with high spirits and that special hope that graces the soul in summertime. I’ve known it several times in my own life. It has helped me grow and learn to love The Lord in new and more intimate ways every season. A gentleman sitting near John and I offered us some kind of premium Wisconsin cheese that came in a nifty little bag. I was hesitant to accept cheese from a stranger, but it ended up being pretty good, if memory serves me correctly.
I saw some familiar faces, shook some new hands, graced the place with a genuine smile. After the set, our friend Beau caught up with us and got to talking about films, delving quickly into the obscure and surreal genres. I remember going out to the parking lot with Angie and John. I’m not sure if they gave me a ride home or if I had taken one of my parent’s cars. Sometimes, I’ve gotta let this minutia go. Whatever the case, that final June Jazz was a delight.
Wednesday night came, and Ann and I decided to watch a movie. She invited me over to her apartment and ordered a pizza for us. I arrived with a small selection of films, and after a short spell of wandering, I found the correct apartment. Ann introduced me to her and her roommate’s dogs; they were both adorable and awesome. We had dinner, complete with wonderful conversation that included our feminist ideologies and desires for the church. I probably elucidated why I wasn’t going to be playing worship at North anymore, if I hadn’t talked about it already on Monday night. After dinner, we got ready to watch a movie. We settled on John Carpenter’s The Thing. Ann had never seen it. To this day, it’s still one of my favorite thriller/horror films. I think she liked it; a first-time viewing of The Thing is always a unique and often terrifying experience. It’s kind of hard to gauge whether the viewer actually likes the film, I think. The wild and grotesque cinema experience before us notwithstanding, it was actually a really chilled and warming night. Ann is the kind of friend you dream of having. Every time I got to hang out with her was a gift.
I left after the movie and drove home with a full heart. This had been a week full of friendship and love, and it was only Wednesday. More was on the way.
Love and Peace to all, and may true and lasting friendships be formed among us everyday.