Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Man with the Van


I went in to Amazing Grace Music on Miracle Mile in San Anselmo for some guitar strings and a smartly dressed older woman with brassy permed hair and long red nails greeted me. She said she was minding the shop for a friend, they had their own music store in Fairfax.

We got to talking and she gave me tea and bikkies —Walker's shortbreads. Then she sat me down for a good natter, while her husband dressed in tweeds from another century, reclined in a chair reading the paper, holding his pipe reverently. 

She asked what I liked to play, I said Irish music. She was quick to tell me that she was Irish too. From the north, she said. I remember being shocked to learn she was from Northern Ireland, as our family was about as southern Irish as you can get, without falling into the Atlantic Ocean. 

I looked for horns, and found only the kindness of her blue-violet eyes, Violet Morrison was well named, I could see that she was once a beauty, with her red  hair and lacquered nails. She said she was once a cabaret singer in Belfast. I told her of my grandmother who raised me, from Bantry, and how she taught me the old Irish rebel songs.

When Violet found out that I had walked all the way from Drake High School to the store to buy strings for my precious Martin, and had no way home, she called up her son to give me a ride out to Forest Knolls as he was living in Inverness. 

I climbed into the battered white van hugging my precious guitar to my chest. I had no idea who he was, this man who was sullen and refused to speak to me the entire way home. Made me feel obliged. Like I was a real bother. I never spoke to him again. 

Later I found out it was Van Morrison. Though I very much like his music, I'm not a fan of Van the Man with the van.





I went in to Amazing Grace on Miracle Mile for some guitar strings and VIolet (who was minding the shop for a friend), gave me tea and bikkies —Walker's shortbreads, and sat me down for a good natter, while her husband sat in a chair reading the paper, holding his pipe reverently. I remember being shocked to learn she was from Northern Ireland, as our family was about as southern Irish as you can get, without falling int the Atlantic Ocean. She was quick to tell me that she was Irish too. From the north. I looked for horns, and found only the kindness of her blue-violet eyes, she was well named, once a beauty, with her red lacquered nails. When she found out that I had walked from Drake High School to the store to get strings for my Martin, she called up her son to give me a ride home out to Forest Knolls as he was living in Inverness. I climbed into the white van. He was sullen and refused to even speak to me the entire way home. Made me feel obliged. Like I was a real bother. I never spoke to him again. Though I very much like his music, I'm not a fan of the man with the van.

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