Subject: Jr. High Decisions
Dear Brother Grady,
Speaking of "that's my story, and I'm sticking to it...", going back in time to around 1961, I was in Jr. High, but because of my one God-given talent, I was partaking in a ritual of singular value.
I was in the chorus of a Sr. High musical.
Originally, I was in the Jr. and Sr. High combined orchestra, which was further combined with the band to play for this event. But because these Broadway musicals usually come without a viola part and because the other two violists were singing major roles and also because I played viola like a monkey with a broken arm, the orchestra director put me in the chorus rather than have me play a saxophone part rewritten for a viola. Fortunately for all concerned, my one talent was singing, not stringed instrument playing.
The best part of these events is usually seeing the high school girls in various stages of undress back stage, (or trying to look up their shirts from underneath the runway while working on the stage crew of beauty pageants, but that's another story). However on this occasion, the best part was attending the cast party. Aside from making me feel like a real high school guy at a real high school party, it was held at the home of the grandfather of one of the principal singers. This grandfatherly fellow, who wore a masonic ring as I recall, held court in his den from his wheelchair (huge house, huge den, huge backyard, huge oil money). This patriarch was not so impressive for anything he said or did, for he was very old and in poor health, rather he was sitting among the trophies of hunts with Teddy Roosevelt in Africa, World War I battles and a host of other exciting things that he had done with his life and money.
Right then and there I promised myself that I was going to live my life so that when I was old and looking back, I could and would say that I had lived a life full of experiences and stories.
Age 14, first class in Decisions 101. You know how a small error in course at the start of a voyage can cause a giant change in destination at the end of the cruise?
At least I did not run off with the circus; the elephants smelled too awful.
When the cleaner following the elephants was asked why he kept on at this same job year after year, he replied, "What? and give up show business?" The next year he replied, "If it were not for the honor of the thing..."
I think next time maybe I'll tell the one about the two Indian mystics.
I am with you in Litchfield in spirit.