Liner notes from a week in ‘Nawlins

New Orleans is indeed, a musical town.

Friday morning I was driving to work, and one of my favorite oldies comes on the radio, so I crank it up and start singing along. I’m zipping down the interstate singing along with Simon & Garfunkel’s rockin’ Cecilia, and I look over to find the guy in the nice Sonata next to me is also singing along, and it seems like he is really belting it. I also see that while his left hand is secure on the wheel, with his right he has really got the bongo -beat going to town on the steering wheel and dashboard. I catch another glimpse, he looks my way, we make eye contact, he sees that I too, am singing along, nods in agreement, keeps on singing – as do I.

At this point, most people in most places would get self-conscious and stop singing, look the other way, slink down in their seat a bit, blush, or…

But not in ‘Nawlins. Here, we all just keep singing, keep driving. I know this, because it happens once or twice a month during my morning commute.

It’s New Orleans, baby; even when you can’t hear each other, you keep on singing for that shared musical experience.

“Jubilation She loves me again,
I fall on the floor and I am laughing!
Jubilation! She loves me again,
I fall on the floor and I am happy!

Ooooohhhh Cecelia….”

# # #

The other day the alarm went off right on the opening bars of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’ Tijuana Taxi. It’s a nice, jaunty little tune to pop out of bed to – even prevented me from hitting the snooze for once, as I mariachied right into the bathroom.

There is no punch line for this one; I just wanted to use the phrase “mariachied right into the bathroom” in my blog.

# # #

Saturday night we went with some friends to a legendary ‘Nawlins po-boy place, the Parkway Bakery &Tavern; it was everything it was said to be and more, food and atmosphere wise. A great time was had by all, and one of their special little quirks is truly New Orleans as well.

It’s one of those places where you place your order, then get called over the P.A. system to pick it up – only at the Parkway, you can’t use your name, they ask you what musical artist you want to be known by. The guy who ordered just ahead of us was Elvis, and as I was ordering, I heard a call for Bruce Springsteen. I also heard a quick call for Phil Collins ( I didn’t need to be eating with him) and one of our dining companions was Paul Simon.  (A guy behind me also wanted to be Elvis, but was told Elvis already had an order in.)

Michael was the gregarious, middle-aged guy at the counter taking our order, and as he rang it up, he asked the question I had been told to expect; “And what musical artist would you like to be known as tonight?”

“Just call for Frank Sinatra.”

“Ohhh, good choice, Frank!” as he swiped my debit card through the register. “What’s your favorite Sinatra song?” He handed me the card.

“Mmmm. That’s Life.” I replied without hesitation.

“Ooooh, great choice, Frank! ‘You’re riding high in April…”

“…shot down in May… “ I continued, to the chagrin and head shaking of my wife, who went quickly around the corner to get her Diet Coke.

“You ever hear him sing in person?” Michael asked.

“Nope.”

“I caught him once right toward the end of his career, wasn’t at his top form, but still worth every penny.”

“I have found some great videos of him in concert on YouTube, though.” I added

“You know, there is a brand new boxed DVD set just came out. It’s fabulous. You should check it out.”

“Cool. I’ll have to do that.”

Michael handed me my receipt. “You have a great night now, Frank.”

We certainly did.

And our New Orleans beat goes on…

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