Monday, March 10, 2008

Sons and Daughters, Daughters and Sons.

Ian Hunter will never win prizes for musical achievement or record sales. He is an acquired taste, both within Mott the Hoople, a band from way back when, through a solo career that finds him releasing albums on a more sporadic basis as the years go by, on smaller and smaller labels with fewer and fewer copies sold. Doesn't seem to bother him so I guess it shouldn't bother me.
I used to get angry, genuinely angry, that people like a Britney Spears or a Spice Girls or a Hansen would outsell musicians I like, such as Warren Zevon, Ray Davies and Ian Hunter. Then I had the BGO (Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious), So what?

Hunter's "Sons and Daughters" purports to be autobiographic, and at first glance and listen, you can say that it is. And then like "Ships in the Night", a huge, hit for, of all people, Barry Manilow, who claimed he'd fallen in love with the song the first time he heard it, you realize there's someone else in the room and in the lyric, and that the someone else is you.

I think both songs underscore the always-in-motion nature of the relationship we have with our own children, and they with us. They, in fairness, are too busy just being to be 'too busy' or 'too inconsiderate' or any of the other shortcomings we project onto them. I was lucky to marry a person whose talents and abilities are so numerous and multiple they can effectively camouflage my dearth of skills from everyone to include the children I helped make and whom I claim to have helped raise. She did all the heavy lifting while I, 'the man', went out into the world to 'provide for my family'. I did such a great job of that we ended up here in Norwich CT, a lovely small town in SE New England, pretty broken and battered from a transatlantic rout over a decade and a half ago.

To our credit, neither of us can claim to have spoiled our two kids, mainly because we didn't have the money to do that with. We did the 'we shall scrimp and save' and still never really were able to afford for them the things we wanted to buy them. We were fortunate in that they never really seemed to want those things, anyway. That which we could give them, our time, was, ironically, the very thing we had and we gave it as best and as freely as we could.
Despite the handicap of having an emotional cripple for a father, both of our children turned out well and seem to be happy, which as I remember from Dad School was how you were supposed to figure out if you'd been a successful parent. Never had a chance to check my experience against that of my own father who died before my wife was pregnant with our son and who, in a way, was the best argument for, and against, children I could have ever made. Luckily, I share my life with someone whose hopes and dreams are bigger than my fears.
'Then that nightmare returns like a ghost haunting me.'
-bill kenny

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