Holy, Holy to The Lord

Below is something I wrote & posted to a few places on the web that aren’t around anymore. Since I’m going to see Neko Case tonight, I thought I’d go ahead and host it on my on turf. I originally wrote this February 2011.- Tito

I remember road tripping to Winona, Minnesota a few days after Christmas 2006. I was going with my mom to take my brother home after our family converged in Omaha, Nebraska for the holidays. My brother didn’t have his way back home totally figured out. Without a car of his own, we thought it would be more fun to drive him up than have him Greyhound it. A good excuse to squeeze a few more hours together with my brother.

I was road trip DJ, packing some of my favorite albums on my iPod shuffle. Somewhere around Clear Lake, Iowa, Neko Case’s “Fox Confessor Brings The Flood” came up. I was happy, though not surprised, that my mom liked Neko, too – she raised me musically, after all. When we got to “John Saw That Number”, mom perked up and sang along, already familiar with the traditional song. It was a great time. Riding across Iowa. With my mom and my brother. Listening to music. Singing along.

We dropped my brother off and then turned around and headed back to Omaha. A few days later, I flew back to California. A few weeks after that, I got the call that my mom had died in the night. That road trip to Winona turned out to be one of the last times I spent with my mom, and a memory that stays close to me. Maybe you can fill in the rest. Maybe not. Maybe you had to be there. We were.

okay

This oldie but goodie is a recording from when I was living in Kansas City and my sister called me from the road between Rolla, MO and Ames, IA (more or less on the way). Somehow I picked up the phone at the exact time my answering machine kicked in. I didn’t hear it until I got home from work the next day. This always cracks me up. I hope you enjoy it a little bit, too. I am sure she was just glad that I unlocked the door.

titodumb (late night phone call).mp3

Everyone I have ever admired has passed through this

I re-read this passage from a Marilynne Robinson interview now and again. Because I agree. Because I find comfort that somebody can be so articulate about things I can only intuit or crudely describe.

The ancients are right: the dear old human experience is a singular, difficult, shadowed, brilliant experience that does not resolve into being comfortable in the world. The valley of the shadow is part of that, and you are depriving yourself if you do not experience what humankind has experienced, including doubt and sorrow. We experience pain and difficulty as failure instead of saying, I will pass through this, everyone I have ever admired has passed through this, music has come out of this, literature has come out of it. We should think of our humanity as a privilege.

– Marilynne Robinson (The Paris Review: The Art of Fiction No. 198)