Sunday, May 30, 2010
Dave had a job at Kips grocery store in downtown Carmel, and one of his duties was to close it up Saturday nights. Visitors to the town would often stroll around window shopping after having dinner in one of the many restaraunts, and such was the case one summer night when I went down to meet Dave prior to going to a party or something. Well, as his '56 Ford's starter motor was on the fritz, he had parked it heading downhill at the corner of San Carlos and Ocean Avenue next to the market where we'd have plenty of room to push start it.
After he locked the market up, we started pushing the car across the intersection, trying to get up enough speed for him to pop-start it. Out of nowhere, two gentleman who had been strolling with their wives ran up and helped us push, and Dave was able to jump in the car and get it started. As I turned to thank the good Samaritans, I recognized that one of them was "The Ol' Pea-Picker" himself, Tennessee Ernie Ford.
Looking back, I wish I had remarked that the car felt like 16 tons.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
When Cobb was ten years old and in the fifth grade, he came home from school and told me that he wanted to learn to play the clarinet. He handed me a contract the school music teacher had drawn up, stating that the student is making a commitment that would last the school year, and in return for the teacher’s time and the parent’s willingness to rent an instrument, the student would attend all lessons and diligently practice. Cobb had already signed the form, and after reading it, and making sure he knew what he was agreeing to, I gladly signed it too.
We went to a music store and rented a clarinet, and when we returned home, watching Cobb put the thing together, it occurred to me why the clarinet was the instrument he had chosen: It came in a small case, and it had all sorts of interesting valves and levers—just the thing for a curious and clever boy. The first sounds it produced, and the second, were not so pleasing, however, and for some reason I sensed that he hadn’t expected the challenge to be quite so great.
Nevertheless, a few weeks passed and every Wednesday he would carry his clarinet in that neat little black case off to school for his lesson. In the evening I’d ask him how things were going, and he confided in me that he was having a difficult time of it. I told him to keep at it, as it was sure to get easier. After a time, when asked how his lesson went, he told me that he hadn’t gone. I encouraged him, and he said he’d go the following week. The following week he skipped the lesson as well, and I knew I had a problem on my hands. I reminded him of the contract and his commitment, and gave him more encouragement.
The next week, it was the same. The clarinet was just too difficult for him, and he didn’t want to try to learn how to play it. I was disappointed, but I also wasn’t going to force him to do something that was going to make him miserable, for when his mind was made up about something, nothing was going to change it. I told him that he was going to have to tell his music teacher about his decision. Cobb wanted to know just what it was that he should say, so I told him that he should tell his teacher that the clarinet was too difficult for him, and he has decided to discontinue his lessons.
As he left the room, I could tell that Cobb was thinking of the easiest way to approach his teacher, and explain his decision. After a few minutes, as he walked up to me, I knew that he had decided what he was going to say, and he was using me as a stand-in for his teacher when he said this:
“Jeffrey Cobb Ewing. The clarinet. Goodbye.”
He then turned around, and walked out of the room.