I’ve done a lot of hurrying in my life. Goes with being a late starter. Unlike my dad, who was always early for everything. Playing in his dance band, as Sandy as Bruce will recall, involved packing up the PA (public address) system – equipment you might see in a museum now, the folding blue heavy cardboard music stands with “AD” on the front, the cases with all the sheet music – hundreds of arrangements he had written of all the great standards, the case of little music stand lights, his trombone, mutes, “hat” (to put over the bell of the horn to get a mellow sound), your own instrument, and what else? I don’t know, but somehow all this, along with his wheel chair, fit into the Oldsmobile 2-door that he drove using a hand lever to work the gas and brake. He was a great driver; like most Dedricks, he liked to go fast when possible. Often a member of the band would ride with us – Chappy or Pard, who coined the phrase “If I hear anything, call me”.

We would leave in time to be able to change two flat tires on the way and still be early. Dad would speed along the country roads of Western New York to some Senior Prom or Firemen’s Ball where all the men wore the best suit they could afford and every woman and girl wore some version of the archetypal prom dress of the 50s and early 60s. Plenty of time for long-tone warmups before the earliest of dancers arrived. It was grand, but really, it’s no wonder rock and roll erupted. (Insert your thought here as to why.)

We watched a documentary film about The Who this week, and – although I’d seen the group live in 1968 or 69 in Flushing Meadows Park, instrument-smashing finale and all – I didn’t really know their history, their roots, what they were about. I didn’t know that Peter Townsend was a student of Meher Baba. I think they were (without knowing it) providing a release valve for millions of pounds of pressure building up in the collective unconsciousness of the boomers growing up under the auspices of post-war goodism, a grim and often ironic demand of parents who had just gone through hell.

So that’s my insightful questioning for this week. Last week, the one on the Thaw was just a bit of a joke, and this one is just some thoughts that are coming out completely unedited, and unbacked by any degrees or support from professionals. I just know that I had the Peace and Love long-haired rebellion knocked out of me a little too soon, brought myself back under the strong influence of 40s perfectionism (and fashion), and possibly squelched a fusion with some potent energy from the “depths” of myself. What was my hurry?

It’s said that the biblical statement, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect”, is a mis-translation. The word perfect should be “whole”. In fact, my return to goodism had some tremendous value in wearing down the ego. Or was the ego just adapting, like it did in Air Force basic training? If the ego is nothing but a false or limited sense of self, usually supported by an over-active intellect and a hungry pain body – it adapted. I waited.

When I was ready, I tapped myself on the shoulder (or slapped myself up side the head), and said, “Okay, let’s deal with this.” Not the stuff they make movies about – usually. Exception: I watched “Stranger Than Fiction” again while waiting for one of my IV bags to empty this week. It’s so funny and sad and profound. Yes, the best part is still the Free Design singing “Love You” at the end of the credit roll. How many viewers wait for that?

I hurried to get my blood sample to go to Germany. The staff at Dr. Marsden’s clinic practically chased the Fedex truck onto the runway. This was right after the 1st of Jan. Of course, the German clinic was closed that week, so we had to do the whole thing again. Two days ago I got word – to wait till next week for results. So there’s not much to report. I’m feeling stronger, breathing well. No sign that the Ukrain is doing any wonders, but we’ll see.

Really do appreciate the comments and emails I’ve been getting. I’m answering one request for more visuals with another great work by Moira. This is the secret portrait that she worked on while we were with the Chaloganys in the south of France. It was a Christmas present, which has found its happy home. Now it’s pictured on her website, and here it is, a portrait of Josie. Moira doesn’t use last names with children’s portraits on the internet, but family will know (no, it’s not Dedrick). Anyway, it’s beautiful to share, and I’m proud of Moira’s work and of the charm of this soulful little girl. I hope it will lead to more commissions for Moira – think about who should have a portrait done! Hey. Think about who needs a piece written – I’ll be looking for commissions, too, in the months ahead.

Enough with the commercials. Next week I’ll throw in a list of every treatment, protocol, diet, and brand of mouthwash we’ve investigated, and indicate whether I’ve tried it and would recommend it. A valuable community service, actually. I learned a scary statistic this week: the average time a person lives after being diagnosed with cancer is almost exactly the same today as it was in the 1930s. No improvement after billions of dollars invested in certain kinds of research. All that’s changed is that so many more people get the disease. And the facilities are better, the machines more impressive, far too much screening and testing to no avail, but with lots of risk. N.B. The lotteries are very effective – you can win a million-dollar house.

Sorry – back to the audio and visual. The audio, “All the Things You’re Not”, this version recorded as the music was just coming forth – my excuse for a pretty rough performance. I have some friends in Europe who only like classical music. Please ignore this light-hearted little number – it’s just a moment’s entertainment. Written a few years ago, when I could get my tongue properly in my cheek. Rebecca Whelan did the opera-singer’s version, which has its own more polished charm. I played it the other day for Ellen and Griffin in response to Jason’s blues song. I’d attach that too, but it’s too long. Soon.

Love and Peace, Man!

Oil on canvas, by Moira DedrickAll the Things You’re Not