March 06, 2011

And February was so long it lasted into March

Six years ago, when I first talked on my blog about how difficult the month of February was for me, several readers emailed me to ask, “Do you know the song Dar Williams sings about February?” And every February, at least one reader tells me again to listen to Dar Williams.

On Friday night, as a reward for surviving February, I went with friends to a Dar Williams concert. It was an intimate setting, a whole bunch of local people crowded into the wooden pews of a Unitarian Universalist Church. Filled with hot soup and salad and homemade bread, wedged between Quilt Artist and Makes Bread, I listened while Dar Williams sang and talked and utterly charmed her audience. I knew I’d love the songs, since I’d heard them before, but I loved equally her self-deprecating sense of humor and the anecdotes that accompanied each song. She said things like, “And THEN I got to be in People Magazine. It was exciting. One by one, my friends went to the dentist and saw it.”

During intermission, my friends and I drank tea, ate cookies, and talked about what a great time we were having. I saw people from the community I hadn’t talked to in years. A former student came up to give me a hug and announce that another former student had had twins that morning.

Saturday night, I took a road trip with my sons to hear jazz pianist Dick Hyman. (I’d use a pseudonym for him, but anything I come up with sounds like a “That’s What She Said” joke.) We got there when the doors opened, and we sat maybe 20 feet away from the black grand piano. I could see both his hands the whole time he was playing. He played many of the old standards, beginning with Ain’t Misbehavin' and Honeysuckle Rose. He’d stop and talk about each piece he played, telling us bits of trivia about Cole Porter or Bix Beiderbecke or George Gershwin, and it was clear that he loved the music he was playing. At the end, he said, “Oh, wait, one more thing,” and leaned over to play Over the Rainbow. He’s 82 years old, so I imagine he was tired after the concert, but he still hung around afterward and chatted with us, talking to my sons about the music they play.

That’s how I celebrated the beginning of March: folk music with my friends, jazz piano music with my sons, and then a late night Saturday movie with my husband. This morning, I picked up Little Biker Boy so he could come build a fire in the fireplace (something he loves to do) before we run out of cold weather. When I went out to the car to take him home, at least 6 inches of snow had fallen.

It might look like winter, but I know it’s March. Spring will come eventually.


Anonymous said...

that sounds so very lovely. my favorite of hers is
"when i was a boy"

Anonymous said...

A wonderful way to celebrate. And we've got flowers already, they will come your way soon.


Liz Miller said...

Spring is on its way.

sherry said...

My husband LOVES Dick Hyman. I have a book he wrote called "Dick Hyman: Piano Pro, A browser's Miscellany On Music and Musicians" I don't know if it is out of print but I am sure that if you can lay your hands on a copy, there are members of your family who will be thrilled.

jo(e) said...

I bet I can find a copy on the internet.

JulieLurker said...

I'm so happy you went to see Dar. I caught her show in State Just Outside Big City Like No Other a weekend or two ago. She was wonderful.

My friend and I were the youngest people there by at least 10 years, and it felt like sitting in a room full of our aunts and uncles and grandmothers and family friends. Dar has a way of making a room feel like that.

"If I Wrote You" always chokes me up.

Happy March.

Terri Eagen-Torkko said...


patrick said...

In February of 1995, my then-wife called it quits on our marriage, and even now, the title of this essay is the line that kills me every time I hear Dar sing it.