The wind had just started to blow hard against the hurricane shutters, vibrating mom’s aluminum back porch into a consistent low grade hum as if it were the C string on a cello. The power had gone hours before, and out of a pure resignation to boredom I found myself mindlessly producing harmonies to the fundamental hum the wind was whipping up. Exiled as I was to the back end of mom’s condo- the only place I could peacefully strum my guitar without invoking the wrath of mom and sister who I think were playing cards by candlelight in the kitchen- I began plunking a few easy chords that seemed to fit the mood. Before long, I was locked in a kind of Spanish sounding melancholic piece, complete with harmonica solos, giving voice to the cataclysmic winds that Cuba and the other Caribbean islands had surely endured. I’m not exactly clear on how the beginnings of a funeral dirge gave way to a devotional wedding song, though perhaps this is more a commentary on my own misgivings around love and definitely ripe fodder for the next five years of therapy sessions. In any event, the following morning the lyrics availed themselves and in five minutes time I had myself a tidy little ditty, courtesy of Irma.
Oddly, my back had been hurting in a kind of wrap-around pain that enveloped my stomach, and it had been difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position the last few nights. As the storm passed and I worked on polishing up the song, I began to stress over the ever increasing pain in my side and back, as I was due to officiate Neil and Lindy’s wedding in Seattle by week’s end. Eventually I found my way to the E.R.- as seems to be my habit the week before a trip to Seattle- although a quick cat scan and some follow up tests found nothing suspicious. The morning of my flight I had almost thrown in the towel and decided not to go, but something deeper urged me forward, and in the car ride from Delray Beach back to my Hollywood condo I took myself to task, proclaiming aloud to my body that I- not it- was in charge and I would be goddamned to allow it’s foibles and unreliability to govern my life any longer. Getting to the plane was another matter, as neither Uber nor my cell phone were working. But- the point is- I MADE IT, and all was good until I woke the next morning in Seattle with an outbreak on my stomach of what looked like Herpes meets MRSA and they party all night long. First order of business: trot my ass to the nearest walk-in clinic and ask WTF?! in the most polite way possible.
Turns out it was the Shingles (as relates to bodies, not roofs), which was odd because neither my mom nor I remember me having had the chicken pox. Regardless, the nuptial clock was ticking and I still had a shit-ton of things to get done, beginning with an impromptu noon recording sesh with my old Static Bloom bandmate, Paul- master of guitar and audio engineer wizard. (Not only is he masterful, he’s unspeakably generous, charging me only a six pack of IPA.) Then it was back to the hotel to prepare for a night of bachelor party debauchery.
The next morning- day of the wedding- found me bright and early at Utilikilts in Pioneer Square, trying on some rather pricy but well-worth-it utility kilts. I finally opted for the black one, as the color seemed befitting of wedding officiate attire. I had no idea that the wedding venue was the Nordic Museum, and while I’m aware that kilts are not a Norwegian custom, I couldn’t help but feel slightly Vicking-esque; there’s something about wearing a kilt that feels badass and warrior-like…or maybe it’s the black faux military issue boots…or perhaps the breeze blowing where the sun don’t shine?
The wedding was a smash hit- Neil and Lindy were their fabulous and beautiful selves- hysterically funny, irreverently impassioned, and adoringly cute and sweet with each other. The two hundred plus community of friends and family that showed up to celebrate their life bond danced and drank the night away to a kick-ass wedding band (The Unoriginals) whose range of repertoire was genre-defying and delightful. I, however- feeling the feverish effect of the shingles kick in- found a back room where cleanly laundered fancy table cloths were neatly stored and I tossed about six of them on the floor to make a nest and blanket for myself, where I happily snoozed until someone discovered me and informed me the party was packing up.
Suffice it to say, this Sweet Spot will be long remembered as the formal beginning of my ministry and most certainly as an experience well beyond the cowardice of my initial imaginings. Thank you, Neil and Lindy, for trusting me with facilitating the union of your respective heaven and earth, and thank you, Irma, for delivering a song to my back door…