Monday, June 28, 2010

Sail Away

June has been kind to me, but I'm crawling out of my skin, anxious to get up into the mountains and check out a few small lakes and streams I know. With rain and snow late into the spring, there is no reason to panic. Still, I get itchy. Back to the bounty of June: two articles published and promise of one more. Some readings and open mic performances, and possibly more. Winning a little memoir writing competition has been a nice boost and now, with warm weather and the promise of some travel, all's well.

This morning while browsing around in my local Goodwill, a wonderful bit of synchronicity occurred. Katie wanted to go to the big Goodwill in search of blue work shirts, so we drove down there. I'm always aware of who shops in Goodwill and why, but these days it's most everyone. Definitely a diverse experience for Portland. This morning more blacks and Latinos than white folks, (again, rare for Portland) but who's counting? So here I am walking up and down the rows, dealing with that unmistakable musty smell, looking at books, sports equipment, sweaters, shirts, and a song playing in the background gets my attention. It's Randy Newman's "Sail Away." I love this song but it's important to note that it's Randy Newman at his satirical best. The song is about the slave trade and sung through a paternalistic, condescending voice telling how great it's gonna be in America.
"Aint no lions tigers or Mamba snakes,
Just the sweet watermelon and buckwheat cakes,
You'll be as happy as a monkey in a monkey tree,
We're all gonna be an American."

What an interesting contrast as I looked through the contents of the store and faces around me. I wonder what forces are at play in the universe to make this juxtaposition possible. But I don't wonder too much. Just enjoy.

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