Sunday, June 22, 2008

the hairball of happiness

yesterday, i visited dean and gypsy. more than good friends, they are my family in new york. they are also my landlords. dean is a veteran of the stage and i enjoy asking him what new york was like back in the day. yesterday, we talked about when he was new to the big bad city. his first visit was in 1944 and he was here for about a month, by which time his savings had dwindled down to just the train fare back to oklahoma. he moved here permanently in 1947, and he remembers that the subway cost only a nickel. of course, there was no air conditioning on the trains back then, so he would ride in between the cars to at least feel the movement of air, hot as it was. this was apparently also a very good spot to warm up the ol' vocal chords on the way to an audition. the image of a young dean standing between subway cars, singing at the top of his lungs, his hair wild with the rush of air as the train hurtles through dark underground tunnels makes me very happy.

he referred to me as a little "ball of happiness" when i was saying goodbye. considering my own moptop, i suggested that "hairball of happiness" might be more accurate, and he laughed. then he started singing to the tune of "bluebird of happiness", but inserted "hairball" instead. we all laughed. they might think that i stop by to be nice or to do dean a favor since he's recovering from a massive stroke. the reality is that hearing dean's stories of days gone by does me even more good than his telling does him.

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