Saturday, October 18, 2014

Song of the day

"This Evening So Soon", by Bob Dylan.

Dad died 25 years ago today. I've written about him, and about that day, before. I don't need to go over any of that ground again. But, being an only child, I do have to mark the occasion, because nobody else is going to.

How about we limit it to one memory: a memory that only recently worked its way up to the surface.

Dad and I were at the farm, working. I don't know what we were doing, probably something like digging post holes, repairing fences, or mucking about with water pipes or tanks. It was a still day. The blue sky stretched all the way from one horizon to the other. At some point we both thought we could hear, far off, what sounded like a lawn mower. This made no sense. The only house close enough for the sound of a lawn mower to carry to where we were was our own, and mum wasn't the one who mowed the lawn. We stopped what we were doing and concentrated on where the sound was coming from, until one of us noticed a tiny dot in the sky over to the east. As this tiny dot gradually increased in size, so the sound of the lawnmower gradually increased in volume. Time passed, and it continued to head in our direction, until eventually we could see what it was: a person flying an ultralight, quite literally a lawn mower with wings. We watched, stunned, as it buzzed its way over our heads and off to the west, where, eventually, we lost sight of it, and the sound faded away to nothing. I don't imagine either of us said anything. More likely, we just looked at each other and got on with the job at hand.

It's a good memory, because it involves just the two of us, working together out in the paddocks, which is how I like to remember the time I was able to spend with him.

Today's song, by Bob Dylan, has nothing to do with any of this. But it is about somebody called "Old Bill", and I think of dad whenever I listen to it. Dad, I don't think, would have thought much of Dylan. He was more of a Bing Crosby kind of guy: technically correct crooners who didn't do anything too fancy. (I doubt he would have thought much of Sinatra, either.)

Dylan being Dylan, the song cannot be found on either Soundcloud or YouTube, but you can listen to it on a page of Bob's official web site, if you can find the "play" icon. (Hint: it is not drawing any attention to itself.)


The other thing that I have been dwelling on is that I am now only 13 years younger than dad was when he died. I have been in my current job, and living in the same house, for 15 years now. It doesn't feel like a long time.