Saturday, February 20, 2010
Discernment: What, if anything, does it mean, Dr. Morris?
Many of us remember Dr. Ashley Morris's role in the 2006 Krewe du Vieux parade. He called himself Mime-boy. The image made it all over the place, including CNN. Here's how it looked in 2006:
Then, of course, we lost Ashley prematurely, in April 2008. I still feel the loss.
Fast forward (abruptly) to a few nights ago, Friday evening, February 19, 2010. My friend Kongo Johnny was visiting from Miami for a conference. He had told me earlier in the day he wanted to hear some blues. I asked my friend Grandmaster Michael (who knows a lot about music) for some recommendations about where to go to hear some good blues. At first he suggested Mississippi or Chicago, but then, settling down, he checked the T-P's Lagniappe section. After some discussion, we agreed that going to dba to see Joe Krown, Walter Wolfman Washington, and their gang play just might fit the bill; they at least would be in the bluesy sector of local music.
Without knowing that Mr. Krown is my favorite New Orleans keyboard guy, Grandmaster Michael made this recommendation. I should have known then that it was going to be a special evening.
I got to Frenchman Street around 9:45 (the show was to start at 10, and it actually did start on time). Kongo Johnny and his friend Stefan the Swede arrived a bit after 10, and we went into dba.
Kongo Johnny LOVED the music, as did Stefan the Swede. They were totally into it (as was I), and I felt happy that I had picked well tonight, with Grandmaster Michael's able help.
My friend Scholarly Nabil also joined us for the concert, and it was a good scene all around.
I stood near the entrance of dba, beer in hand and feeling satisfied with myself, enjoying the first minutes of the concert. Then the corner of my eye caught something large and well-lit moving in the street, approaching the front of dba. Through the open door of the bar, I saw this:I grabbed Kongo Johnny's arm, blabbered something to him and Scholarly Nabil, and ran out of dba, stunned.
I snapped the picture you see, and just stood there. A chill went through me, and not from the cold.
Then I remembered what Peter had mentioned on Facebook. The new HBO series "Treme" is filming in town, and for an episode they were recreating the 2006 Krewe du Vieux parade. This was in my head somewhere, but to see what they had actually done was just. . . well, I don't know what it was. It was a punch in the gut and a joy at the same time. I didn't even really get tears. I was too stunned.
I saw Peter and Grace marching in the parade, so I went up and talked with them. They were tired and had been filming for at least 7 hours. It's a lot of work to recreate a Mardi Gras parade.
I went back into dba. The parade ended up passing the bar four more times--reshooting again and again, I guess.
After midnight, I think, I noticed that the krewe members then came in to get drinks. I saw Ashley Mark Two standing near the bar, so I walked up to him and told him how Ashley was a good friend of mine. Of course, Ashley Mark Two knew Ashley as well, as I guess he is a krewe member too. (In my stunned state, silly me assumed that "Treme" had hired some actor to do the part.)
I bought Ashley Mark Two and his companion beers, and then I asked him his name. "Chris," he said.
Wow. That stunned me again. That name has some significance for Mr. Clio.
Anyway, that's my story from Friday night. I don't know what it all means. I really have trouble with discernment, reading the signs (if they are signs) that the universe/the Infinite may be sending.
It might mean nothing. It might be (as some would call it) a kiss on the cheek from the cosmos. Or a brush on the wrist. Or a kick in the butt.
The one thing I'm sure about in the art of discernment is that a good guide for the validity and goodness of a sign is its real-life effects. Judge something by its fruits.
So far, the fruits for me have been gratitude and a feeling of connectedness to my friend Ashley. Not bad.