Saturday, August 11, 2012

Today's MOMENT OF ZEN 8/11/12

Larry and Rang 
Words and Photo by F LoBuono

My friends often tease me by calling me the real mayor of Nyack. Of course, I am not! They say it because I'm always extolling the virtues of this tiny, Hudson River hamlet. But I can't help myself. I've loved this town from the very first moment I set foot in it. I've written about that first encounter previously here and in other venues. It was magic then and, fortunately, nearly 30 years later, it still is. After 6 years away, living about 10 miles up the River (literally, not figuratively!  LOL), I have returned to the place where I have always belonged - and still do.

In addition to it's physical beauty, and Nyack IS beautiful, it's the attitude of the place that is one of it's strongest assets. Simply put, the people here give a shit for how and why they live. This creates community in the truest sense of the word. This, in turn, fosters an openness, a freedom of thought and lifestyle that should be the envy of every community. So, what's not to like? Sure, it's not perfect. There's crime. There's racial tension. There's crappy parking (LOL). But, because of it's openness, it's acceptance of most things and people, Nyack never ceases to be a place of wonderment for me. Last night was a classic example.

Most readers of this blog are familiar with what has become a Friday night ritual for me: on my way home from my shift at CBS in NYC, I stop at the River Club for a libation, i.e. a Canadian Club Manhattan. I've stolen a line from The Three Stooges and call it a nip'n' tuck - one nip and they tuck me away! Anyway, Pete, the bartender, makes it perfectly and usually has my glass chilling for my arrival. It has agreeable food. a spectacular view, and good music. So, again, and without making this a commercial for the RC, I ask: what's not to like? I had gotten out of work a little early which allowed me to leave my car at my apartment so I could walk there. I'm only about 5 or 6 blocks away. And I love to walk, especially in this town. Besides, if I walk there I can safely stagger back LOL! Despite the threat of thunderstorms, I grabbed my Panama hat from my apartment and off I went. When I arrived, Pete was stocking some stuff in the back and not at the bar, so the very capable Neil whipped me up my nip and tuck. A good friend, and a VERY talented musician, Tim O'Donahue, was at the mic, doing his thing, much to the delight of the patrons. With the risk of sounding trite, it was delightful.

I finished my libation and a half (I can't do two, I wouldn't be able to even stagger home! LOL). I said my good byes and made way for the door and my walk home. I started up the long hill that leads from the RC and onto Main St. where I thought I'd make a round before reaching my final destination - it was Friday night, after all! I got about half way up the hill when I heard this delightful, "live" music coming from a screened-in porch on the next block. Like a child in The Pied Piper children's story, I was led by that sound to that porch. I stood across the street and just soaked in the scene. It was two black men playing conga drums to some very cool jazz. And they were cooking!! One of them saw me standing there and yelled out that he really like my Panama hat. I gave him a thumbs up in return. Then he yelled back, come on in, man. You are welcome. I didn't hesitate for a second and joined them on their cluttered porch. Without breaking stride, they welcomed me to their home and shared their music. One of the men must have been around my age and was clean-shaven. The other man was slightly older with a long, grey goatee. He was also wearing a Panama hat and remarked, again without breaking stride, how much he liked mine. After the first song, they stopped for a second to introduce themselves - Larry and Rang. We shook hands and I told them how thrilled I was to be there. They started to play another tune when the younger man took out his flute and jammed with the older man who was still playing the conga. And they COOKED!!! I couldn't believe that I was there. It was impromptu, so unexpected, and so WONDERFUL. We were all laughing, smiling, enjoying.

After the song, I hugged them both. They were wet with sweat from the exertion. I didn't care. I thought that my face would break from smiling so much and so broadly! What a privilege it was to be allowed into their world, even for a few minutes. I thanked them profusely and made why back to the street to finish staggering home. It was nearly 2 a.m. They serenaded me back to the street, their music carrying me the rest of the way up the steep hill until I couldn't hear them anymore.

Nyack is full of wonderment like that. That's why I love it. But we all should put ourselves in a place to find it. Because you never know where, or when, you may will.

Look for the wonderment.  It is all around us.

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