Wednesday, April 09, 2008

If this plane goes down, I'm saving your life.

I awoke in a cloud today, but it was a good one. I believe I managed seven whole hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is some sort of a hallelujah miracle in my scattered life. And, as I have some rituals I go about when puttering through my morning, I went about sending a song to a long list of friends and relatives. I've done this for a long time, mostly because I like to share and, well, because I want to feel better about the thousands of compact discs stacked up against the back wall of my office. Sometimes people don't like what I send (and it makes my day when anybody comments back, whether they love it or they hate it). Other times, they trigger memories.

Today's song was Butter for Burns by local outfit Palomino (recently renamed Devil Whale for reasons unknown to me). Slowtrain had put this on one of their sampler discs not long ago and, out of that whole thing, this was the one song that stood out to me. One of those that sticks its head and shoulders above the pack and forces you to hear it out. It needed sharing. Begged for it.

When I packed its bags and sent it on its way, I did so with the following message (edited for clarity and, oh yeah, to make me sound better), titling it "If this plane goes down, I'm saving your life," after a line the song uses over and over in the tune:

"It feels quiet this morning. It feels like I could have slept for a-thousand years to catch up with where the rest of my sleep went. It's another gray one outside, where the fog and clouds have almost come to my window to rap on it, whispering that, once again, my precious Spring weather has been delayed ... and I accept this news begrudgingly. Someday there will be 6:45 AM soccer and easy running and car camping and bare feet and shorts and sticky sweat in the desert, but this morning is far, far away from that fantasy. This morning is set on HUM, like the one before it and the one before that. It's why I play a song like this one on repeat, because it can be played with my eyes still half shut, as the singer understands mornings and because, well, it makes sense now. And sometimes, though not often, I don't mind making sense ..."

Why do I write like that in the morning? I sure don't know. But, as for that memories business I spoke of before, my ma wrote back fairly quickly (sharing begets sharing, kids) with a one-liner that intrigues me to no end. Referring to that airplane line, she said that that is what her dad said to her mom (seven months pregnant with my mom at the time) in 1951, as their plane was going down in Mexico. And that's all she wrote.

What the? Did the plane actually go down? Did it land? Was my granddad some kinda hotshot Indiana Jones type in his youth? Obviously, all survived the tale, but, if a tale exists—and it sounds like one does—it definitely needs telling. I need to know more. My mom's not answering her phone, but I aim to get to the bottom of this. She's definitely got some 'splaining to do.

UPDATE: Well, I'll be. I've confirmed with my ma ... and it's all true. Small plane crash landed in a knee-deep lake in Mexico, but not before my granddad was planning to save not only my grandmother, but another woman on the plane as well. All survived (save for an unfortunate dog). The way my grandmother told it, she was nothing but embarrassed as a bunch of Mexican migrant workers struggled, slipped and slid while attempting to carry her from the plane to dry ground ... and, being 7-months pregnant gringa, she felt "big as a buffalo." Mom says that she has a clipping from a Mexican newspaper she aims to get completely translated someday, perhaps before it falls apart. I look forward to that happening in a faroff someday.


Sara said...

I'd like to hear that story once you've heard it.

Jillian said...

I kind of hope your mom is sitting at home watching your name show up on her caller id and snickering to herself about messing with you so early in the morning.

Zonian said...

I promise it won't be that faroff,
someday. :-)

tanyamae said...

i liked the song... and the story... your granddad... what a man!

erinannie said...

Over on Ken Jennings the Jeopardy Guy's blog, he's making a list of all 50 states and the best bands to ever come out of them.

That blog list was made for you.

becky said...

I wish Palomino would have kept Palomino. it's such a better name