Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Birthday Greetings Family Style

On the phone with my grandfather late in the evening on my birthday.
: Hi Dad-da

DD: Hey! How ya doin'?

K: OK. How're you?


K: I'm calling so that you can wish me a happy birthday.

DD (laughing): Well Happy Birthday!

K (laughing): Thanks!

DD: Did you have a good day?

K: I did, though I had to work.

DD: You just getting home?

K: Yeah. We went to dinner and got steaks. Then to a free outdoor jazz concert in the town next door.

DD: Uh huh.

K: Yeah. There was a keyboardist, a bass player and drummer with a vocalist. They were actually quite good.

DD: This was at your office.

K: What? No.

DD: I thought you said you just got home from work.

K: No, I said we just got home. Mom and I. We went to dinner and then to a jazz concert.

DD: Oh. I see.

K: The concert was really good. A keyboardist, bass player, drummer, and a vocalist. They had some really interesting arrangements and rather clever transitions.

DD: Uh huh. They were Japanese?

K (confused): What?

DD: Didn't you say you went to a Japanese concert?

K: I said it was jazz. A jazz concert.

DD: Oh! Jazz. I thought you'd said Japanese.

K: No. They were actually quite good. Mostly a mix of Irving Berlin, Johnny Mercer, that sort of stuff. And the vocalist sang a few pieces her husband had written in the same vein and they were quite lovely.

DD: Did she sing in Japanese?

K (with exaggerated patience): No, Dad-dad. It was jazz.

DD: It wasn't a Japanese jazz concert?

K: No.

DD: Okay.

K: It was part of an outdoor summer concert thing that the next town over presents each summer. Right near the hospital Mom was in, actually.

DD: Doesn't it bother the patients?

K: What?

DD: The patients. I'd think the music would bother them.

K: No - what? - it's - the park's a good 1/2 mile from the hospital.

DD: Oh. So it doesn't bother them?

K: I'd be surprised if they could even hear it. The half shell keeps the noise pretty enclosed. I mean, there's speakers so that the audience can hear the music, of course. But I think it's fairly well contained. (growing frustrated) I dunno! I'm not a sound engineer. I'd think the patients are more bothered by sirens than anything else.

DD: I bet it bothers them.

K (sighing resignedly): Well, I enjoyed it. I'd gone there last week to a Broadway review put on by a few choir friends of mine from church who are Broadway vets.

DD: Wow. That's nice.

K: Yeah. So I got a flyer that night, saw tonight's concert listed, and thought it'd be a nice way to round out my birthday.

D: And it was.

K: Yep. Full moon, nice breeze, good music, great night.

DD: Sounds good. And you understood the Japanese.

K (sighing wearily): Yes. Absolutely. I understood every word of Japanese.

DD (pausing to regroup): I thought you said it was jazz.

K: You've managed to convince me otherwise. Even though I was the one who was actually, you know, there.

DD: Did you drive your new car tonight?

K: My Honda?

DD: Isn't that what you have now?

K (warily): Yeah.

DD: Yeah.

K: Of course I drove it tonight. How else was I supposed to get there?

DD: Well, that talks in Japanese, right?

K: Absolutely. It greets me every morning when
I turn on the radio. Remember? It said Konichiwa when you were in it last month.

DD: It did?

K: Sure.

: Okay. You enjoyed the concert?

K: Very much. We got home about 20 minutes ago and now I'm waiting for Mom to get off the other phone so we can have cake.

DD: What kind of cake?

K: Chocolate truffle cake. And before you ask, no, it's not Japanese.

DD (laughing): No, huh?

K: Nope. OK, she's off. I'm gonna go eat cake.

DD: Well, Happy, Happy Birthday, Hon.

K (grinning): Thank you.

DD: And d
on't go over 75 on the highway on-ramps.

K: Never. I always keep it to 70 on on-ramps. 75's for the exit ramps.

DD (laughing): OK. Good.

K (laughing): Love you lots, Dad-dad. See you soon.

DD: Bye Hon.

K: Koinichiwa.


  1. LOL: A Japanese jazz concert inside a hospital. That would be something!

    Or maybe the word's Sayonara.

  2. Thank you for the great story. I am laughing so hard almost peed my pants. I'm glad we can catch up with each other again.