I've said it before. I'll say it again. There are some really good reasons to stick out the loneliness and keep living in Jersey.
I went and stood in line at a Borders bookstore to shake Clarence Clemons' hand and get his signature on a book he co-penned. He's a very important member of the E Street Band; he's Springsteen's saxophone player.
And he's more than that. To me. He's part of a unique elixir I've tried to describe before that somehow gets my mother dancing at concerts for the last 6 years or so.
There's nothing quite like a beautiful sax solo to get your feet tapping or to bring out that extra heart-wrenching emotional twist in a song.
And I had about 60 seconds to tell him, something, anything.
I leaned over the table so he would be sure to hear me, and I got his attention while he was signing the book. It probably didn't hurt that I had the girls in a push-up bra right in his line of vision, I'm no dummy.
I said: "My mother is in her 70s and it is because of your saxophone playing that she still dances."
His smile was so genuine, I saw it reach his eyes.
He shook my hand and there was a really warm energy there. He said, "Well you tell her to keep on dancing. Because I've had 3 hip replacements and 2 knee replacements and I'm still up there so she can keep on dancing."
I thanked the co-writer Don as he signed his name, and then somehow I made it a few steps away from the table. My eyes were just brimming I could not see clearly, and I quickly found an out of the way spot in an aisle of the bookstore. The tears just streamed down my cheeks. Happy tears. Sad tears. All at once.
I have some very special memories with my Mom at some incredible Springsteen concerts. Winning tickets on the radio. Driving several hours just to pick her up and take her to Boston. Being given tickets another time to a VIP section with an amazing buffet that she still talks about as if she'd never eaten food like that before. Watching her dance and listening to how she thinks of Bruce as a son. Those are the happy tears.
She will probably not attend another show now; she has said so herself. Those are the sad tears.
I got Mom on the phone as soon as I could, and I told her that Clarence Clemons has a message for her. And I could hear the change in her voice, for just a moment. She had some surprise, and I heard some happiness shine through the misery and the pain she normally wears like a cloak while her various ailments eat her body alive.
I tell her not to give up but she tells me she's so tired of fighting her body. She mentions my birthday coming up, and says she can only think one day at a time.
She says she wants to read the book. I warn her there's swearing. She doesn't care. I said I'll get it to her as soon as possible. I tell her I love her and hang up the call.
Just another memory filed away in the
It's the little things that matter.