Monday, July 20, 2009

The week that was.

What a week! I started off thinking about the hot summer of '69 - forty years ago. I am someone who lives very much in the present and usually resist a nostalgia trip down memory lane. Still the fates seem to have conspired to remind me just how many years I have been on this planet.

A former colleague from the Foreign Service contacted me and the rest of our peer group to mark the occasion of 35 years passing since we were all hired as "the best and the brightest". This number is pragmatically important as most of these former young bucks are now qualified for retirement and the full, golden pensioning off, reserved only for government workers and politicians. Of course, I wish them all the best of luck. Problem is that the email exchange was accompanied by a group photo of these guys, I mostly remember as twenty-somethings in the summer of '74 - now gone to faded government grey. Well, it was food for thought, but certainly no regrets that I took my career into my own hands over twenty years ago.

This weekend, I relaxed at Jericho Beach Park for the Vancouver Folk Festival. The wooded beachside park glories in a panoramic view of English Bay, the sailboats, the city skyline and the north-shore mountains. Among the myriad of performers, I particularly enjoyed Cheryl Wheeler's wit, Roy Forbes peculiar twangy voice, Lester Quitzau's bluesy guitar, Geoff Berner's caustic ironies, Bellowhead's fine English disco/seashanties and Mavis Staple's touch of history. She told the backstory of one civil rights song, written by her father for, and that became a personal favorite of, Martin Luther King. She began her own singing career in 1969 and is still going strong.

Today, July 20, marks the 40th anniversary of Man on the Moon. - July 20, 1969. I was a child who star-gazed and remember the science fiction spookiness of the Sovet Union's sputnik overhead. I remember the fuzzy black and white images and crackly sound coming LIVE from the moon. I went all nostalgic this week as I recalled Walter Cronkite's sonorous narration of this and other great events. The technical feat was,without a doubt, amazing. However, mostly I remembered Walter's American authenticity. He always seemed to represent the best of the USA.

As Mavis sang into the dusk at Jericho, the International Space Station, came out of the western sky - by far the brightest light among the early stars - and glided as swiftly and silently as time through Vancouver's sky. We danced and some of us waved.

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